After reading “The Harlot’s House” by Oscar Wilde I came to the belief that he was writing from his own perspective on a particular night he had experienced. The author seems to have a spiteful look on the idea of Harlots and the Harlot House. I came to this conclusion because he talks badly about the women and uses unfriendly words to depict them. For example, he describes them as “slim silhouetted skeletons” which is not how you would describe someone you thought to be socially accepted. The Harlots are skinny and wear silhouettes to seem more appealing to men. Farther down the poem he describes one woman as a marionette outside smoking a cigarette like a living thing. This leads me to assume he is distasteful towards the Harlots. He repeatedly compares the Harlots with things that aren’t living or alive to make them seem like they aren’t people.
Another conclusion I drew after my first read through was that the lady he went there with was his wife or current lover. After the author described her leaving him to join the other girls I thought that maybe she deceived him and was secretly a Harlot as well. After further thinking about the words he used to describe the situation I alternatively thought that maybe he was actually just using the situation to describe how his ex-lover may have left him for another man or left him to become a Harlot. The author uses lines such as “love passed into the house of lust” to describe his situation of losing a lover to prostitution.
By Alex Holtman