Killing the ones you love

In Oscar Wilde’s poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” he writes from the perspective of a man in jail, witnessing another prisoner who’s being put to death for killing his love. He then takes this physical action of the man killing his love and turns it into an abstract idea that I believe suggests all men kill the things they love through toxic masculinity. Wilde writes, “Yet each man kills the thing he loves, By each let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!”, and goes on to outline other which ways men can go about killing their loves. I believe this is similar to Heathcliff and Catherine in how the issues between Edgar and Heathcliff drove Cathy to breaking. Their hypermasculinity drove the two men to fight over Cathy in a reductionistic sense that negated her validity as a person with autonomy, consequently killing the thing they loved.

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