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Oscar Wilde

The portrait of Mr W.H.

The story is set in Great Britain in the nineteenth century . Two nobles are talking about forgeries after dinner, and Erskine shows the other the portrait of a handsome young man, who seems to be Mr. W.H., the mysterious man to whom Shakespeare dedicated his Sonnets. Erskine explains that it is a forgery and tells the story.

Cyril Graham was in the past a great friend of Erskine. He also loved a lot acting, and he was really good at this art. He particulary loved Shakespeare, and when he took his university degree , he went to London to study Shakespeare's Sonnets. After a while, he called his great friend Erskine to tell him his new theory about the identity of Mr.W.H. He thought that Mr.W.H. was no one of the men that till that moment he was supposed to be, but a young man of Shakespeare's acting company, Mr. Willie Huges.

He gave may proofs drawn from the Sonnets to prove this. At first Erskine believed him, but before publishing the theory they needed proofs of the real existence of Mr.W.H., which they sought for a lot ,without finding any one; besides, Erskine himself dind't believe in the theory.

Cyril tried in vain for many days to convince him, and at last he left London. After a while he showed Erskine the portrait of Mr.W.H., saying that he had found it in a chest. At first Erskine believed him, but then discovered it was a forgery made by a very good and poor painter. The man went to his friend Cyril's and strongly argued with him. The next day, Cyril was found dead. He committed suicide, to prove how much he believed in his theory and how much it was right.

The man to whom Erskine has just told the story is enthusiastic, and he himself believes in it, even if Erskine tries to convince him of its falseness.

The man goes home, and starts studying Shakespeare's Sonnets. At last he writes ardent letters to his friend Erskine, explaining the new proofs he has found. But after writing the letters, his enthusiasm for the matter of Mr.W.H. decreases a lot , and he himself doesn't believe any longer in the existence of Willie Huges.

But the letters he sent convince Erskine of the correctness of the theory. When the man pays Erskine a visit , they argue a lot about the matter. The man tries to convince Erskine of the falseness of the theory, while Erskine decides to devote his life to prove the existence of Willie Huges.

After two years the man receives a letter from Erskine, who says he is going to commit suicide, to prove as Cyril the correctness of his theory.

The man goes to Erskine 's , and finds him dead. But the doctor explains him that he didn't commit suicide, he died of tubercolosis.

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