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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Oscar Wilde's Tragedies

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. DINING ROOM - MORNING


  4. Having breakfast with KAJI, the family pet, PETER checks phone notifications.


  5. PETER (V.O.): Here's an answer request concerning Oscar Wilde. He says there're two tragedies in life: One is not getting what you want. The other is getting it.


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): One of the first things I learned from logic was that: don't appeal to authority.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Appeal to authority is a form of argument in which an opinion of a supposed authority is used as evidence to support an argument.


  10. Pausing.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Lines are well written or badly written. That's all. They don't necessarily represent any truism.


  12. Pausing.


  13. PPETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While studying English Literature in my teens, I heard about Oscar Wilde. Perhaps, I should learn more about him now.


  14. Act 2


  15. INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


  16. Peter is glued to the small prints on his phone screen.


  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, he was born 100 years before me and died when my grandpa was born.


  18. Pausing.


  19. PETER (V.O) (Cont'd): He came from a well-off Irish family and studied at Magdelan College, Oxford.


  20. Recalling.


  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 2019, while accompanying our younger daughter to her university, we did sight-seeing in Oxford.


  22. Pausing.


  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): My wife's pupil master was from Magdelan College. We took a few photos. Now I know that Oscar Wilde went there in the 19th C.


  24. Pausing.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I can't agree with his observation that life is necessarily tragic in not getting a want and in getting it.


  26. Pausing.


  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I can falsify Oscar Wilde's hypothesis with my experience.


  28. Pausing.


  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've my life goals and have made them come true. And their coming true have made me as happy as I've hoped.


  30. Pausing.


  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Nothing tragic or comic at all. For me, and possibly many others, life isn't dichotomous as he described or experienced.


  32. Reading.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 1895, Oscar Wilde initiated a private prosecution against somebody for criminal libel. The accused alleged that Oscar Wilde had committed the crime of sodomy.


  34. Reading.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, some of the testimonies made by Oscar Wilde during the libel trial have been documented.


  36. Reading.


  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The accused tendered evidence to prove that his allegation was true in substance and in fact.


  38. Reading.


  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As the court so declared, the accused was acquitted. Oscar Wilde had to pay legal costs to the other side, making him bankrupt.


  40. Reading.


  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Later, Oscar Wilde was arrested and charged for sodomy and gross indecency.


  42. Reading.


  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In his own trial, Oscar Wilde's defence testimonies simply reinforced prosecution's case.


  44. Thinking.


  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's evident that his ability to understand the connections between ideas was limited. He couldn't think clearly and rationally what to say or do.


  46. Pausing.


  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I haven't read any of his few works. Intellectually, I don't think I've missed anything.


  48. Pausing.


  49. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): My problem with studying English Literature was that while authors might pose questions and offer observations, I found they weren't rationally satisfactory. So, I turned to philosophy.


  50. Act 3


  51. INT. DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


  52. Finishing his breakfast with Kaji, Peter begins to type on his phone.


  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oscar Wilde was talking about his own tragedies in life.


  54. Typing.


  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I believe he wasn't content with what he had got.


  56. Thinking.


  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As he had metaphorically killed his love, he could never get what he wanted.


  58. Thinking.


  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): So, Oscar Wilde could be completely empty.


  60. Pausing.


  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Why should people own someone's tragedies as theirs? Have the courage to let that "authority" go!


  62. Peter taps the Post button on his phone screen.


  63. FADE OUT.


  64. THE END


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