The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

The undermentioned essay will research the character of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The thought of Dorian’s deteriorating morality will be emphasized in this essay and the apposition of the character’s image and his physical visual aspect will be a chief constituent in the development of thesis of this essay. The subject of morality will be a major issue in this paper as it is through morality that Dorian has drastically declined into his Stygian province. Oscar Wilde presents the reader with a really modern twenty-four hours novel. both in subject. topographic point puting. and character development.

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The reader is introduced to Dorian Gray through Basil Hallward ; the two characters are the Southern Cross of the novel’s actions. In fact the two characters. Basil and Dorian. although every bit enthralled with each other at the start of the novel. go progressively distance as the novel progresses and as Dorian finds himself in moral depravity through the tuition of Lord Henry Wotton Lord Henry looked at him. Yes. he was surely wondrous fine-looking. with his finely-curved vermilion lips. his blunt bluish eyes. his chip gold hair. There was something in his face that made one trust him at one time.

All the candor of young person was at that place. every bit good as all youth’s passionate pureness. One felt that he had kept himself unsoiled from the universe. No admiration Basil Hallward worshipped him ( Chapter Two ) . In the first exchange between Dorian and Lord Henry. the subject of the novel. that of young person and its disappearing. brings Dorian to cuss his portrayal because it will merely be a reminder of how beautiful and immature he one time was. and with this expletive it is revealed to the reader how of import the facet of young person is to Dorian whose exclusive belief in himself rests with this feature.

Within the subject of young person is the ultimate expletive of Dorian. for it is within this context that he becomes a doomed ‘hero’ and therefore loses his love. his life. and in the terminal of the narrative. his young person. Therefore. the point which he one time treasured becomes his ruin. It is with this expletive that is Dorian’s lamenting of the portrayals everlasting young person. that Dorian offers his psyche in exchange for the portrayals young person to be transferred to him while the portrayal bears the ferociousness of Dorian’s life. In a type of Faustian diminution. Lord Henry introduces Dorian into a really debilitating life style in which Dorian becomes perfectly enthralled.

This new life style is full of animal pleasances and Dorian honkytonks into it headfirst. exerting no judgement merely the bang of the minute. without sorrow. compunction. or ground at times ( Baker 1969 ) . Although this may be considered to be Lord Henry’s influence. Dorian embraces this life style with ardor. It is Dorian’s pick how he lives. and even though it may be considered to hold been a type of brainwashing. Dorian latches onto the ideals presented by Lord Henry in that first conversation in Basil’s house. In fact. the ground that Basil had admired Dorian. at least harmonizing to Dorian. is because of his young person and beauty.

Therefore. Basil in the act of painting Dorian reiterates this subject. The support for this thesis runs consistent for most of the interactions among the characters in the novel. In one of the first examples the reader discovers of Dorian’s altering portrayal is when Dorian falls in love with an actress by the name of Sibyl Vane. However. the predicament of these two lovers is that Dorian falls in love with Sibyl because of her acting abilities ; the turn is that since Sibyl has fallen in love with Dorian she no longer believes she can feign to be in love on phase and therefore quits her moving calling ( Wikipedia ) .

After this event. Dorian culls Sibyl and interrupt off their battle. “He flung himself down on the couch. and turned away his face. “You have killed my love. ” he muttered. ” ( Chapter Seven ) . This is when the audience and Dorian see the first alterations in Dorian’s image ; his image. one time full of young person. beauty and a hopeful artlessness. now sneers. This is the first mark of diminution and it is non seen on Dorian’s image perfect face but alternatively is relayed to the audience through the portrayals countenance ( Brown p. 264 ) .

After this realisation that Dorian’s expletive has come true. Dorian seeks to do requitals with his moral fortitude and to do damagess with Sibyl. Despite this last ditch attempt. or even of the one opportunity Dorian has in the class of the novel to do rebukes. Lord Henry tells Dorian that Sibyl has killed herself and that he. Dorian. should take the self-destruction as a type of artistic victory. Therefore. Dorian is urged to populate without sorrow or worse. with no compunction for his actions and engagement in the immature girl’s decease Yet it was watching him. with its beautiful marred face and its cruel smiling. Its bright hair gleamed in the early sunshine.

Its bluish eyes met his ain. A sense of infinite commiseration. non for himself. but for the painted image of himself. came over him. It had altered already. and would change more. Its gold would shrivel into Grey. Its ruddy and white roses would decease. For every wickedness that he committed. a discoloration would spot and bust up its equity. But he would non transgress. The image. changed or unchanged. would be to him the seeable emblem of scruples. He would defy enticement. He would non see Lord Henry any more— ( End of Chapter Seven ) . From this point in the novel and onwards. there can be no deliverance of Dorian since this is taken to be the hamlets of the narrative.

If Dorian can non yield to alter his animal life style at the self-destruction. which he aided in. of his love. so at that place seems to be no hope for the immature adult male and the remainder of the class of the secret plan is full of Dorian’s revolting moral character and the changeless influence of Lord Henry. and the soft if slightly absent word pictures of Dorian as seen through Basil’s eyes. The narrative is really much like Faust because it is at the flood tide of the animal life style and its full significance that Dorian has a alteration of bosom and repents. but it is non until after Dorian has had his animal life style that this repentance is shown.

Dorian is witting of his altering moral character and in this visible radiation. he seeks to conceal his portrayal in an upper room of his house where merely he may see the changing and deviant images transforming Dorian’s countenance. The gimmick in the novel nevertheless is that in the 18 old ages of Dorian’s interaction with London society on a degrading character. the elite of society continual to accept him. despite his moral character because Dorian remains immature and beautiful.

While the battle between Lord Henry and Basil has occurred in the early phases of the novel. and it is obvious that Lord Henry has won. Basil however goes to Dorian’s house to face Dorian about his flagging repute in London society. While at Dorian’s house nevertheless. Dorian decides to demo Basil his portrayal of Dorian. and therefore. the creative person is confronted with how Dorian’s psyche has been distorted through about two decennaries of immoral life. Basil nevertheless is non put off by this presumption and still implore Dorian to alter his ways.

The reader nevertheless knows that the clip for alteration would hold been with Sibyl. and if Dorian can non alter his character after her self-destruction. so all hope is lost. Basil still persists. and in a tantrum of fury. against himself. and for Basil holding witnessed the truth of Dorian’s psyche. Dorian pang Basil to decease The huffy passions of a hunted animate being stirred within him. and he loathed the adult male who was seated at the tabular array. more than in his whole life he had of all time loathed anything. He glanced wildly around. Something glimmered on the top of the painted thorax that faced him.

His oculus fell on it. He knew what it was. It was a knife that he had brought up. some yearss earlier. to cut a piece of cord. and had forgotten to take away with him. He moved easy towards it. go throughing Hallward as he did so. Equally shortly as he got behind him. he seized it. and turned unit of ammunition. Hallward stirred in his chair as if he was traveling to lift. He rushed at him. and dug the knife into the great vena that is behind the ear. oppressing the man’s head down on the tabular array. and knifing once more and once more ( Chapter 13 ) .

Dorian’s end in life now is to get away from guilt. which is a hard undertaking because merely the guilty party has the ultimate power to bring on compunction. After being confronted by Sibyl’s brother James Vane. and after James’ inadvertent decease at a runing party Dorian wants to alter his life. Dorian does non cognize how to atone his since without a complete confession of them and so fear causes him to be dead in his determination. In Dorian’s determination to squeal his offenses. and yet non able to be gutsy plenty to make it. his portrayal now reflects his purposes to be hypocrisy.

In this new vena of the narrative. Dorian. in yet another authoritative tantrum of fury. retaliation. or weakness. Dorian picks up the same knife he used to kill Basil and assail his self-portrait. The narrative so goes to the 3rd individual narrative and the retainers hear a loud clang and travel to happen out what the noise was. and when they open the door. the retainers and the readers find that the portrayal has been restored to its formal beauty and young person and that Dorian lies an old. disfigured adult male on the floor with a knife plunged into his bosom.

Therefore. with Dorian’s concluding act of penitence. he is able to alter that which he had cursed and traded his psyche for in the beginning of Wilde’s narrative ( Lawler & A ; Knott p. 390 ) . This. as mentioned prior is the Faust facet of the narrative. the alteration of bosom of the supporter after holding fulfilled his pleasance and had his portion of dark merriment. Dorian’s character so consists of a young person who is artlessness. so persuaded by Lord Henry to populate merely for pleasance. so after slaying Basil. and seeing his love’s brother killed. and after gazing at the province of his psyche in the portrayal Dorian alterations.

It is this last that has the full affect on him ; Dorian. faced with his true image. and the hatred. green-eyed monster. supercilious nature that has become him. becomes overwhelmed with truth and can non believe the province of it. and therefore. must cover up this last spot of grounds ; he must kill himself. With this concluding act. the reader is faced with the equivocal determination of whether or non through his actions Dorian was able to alter what he had created through 18 old ages of animal pleasance seeking with his one act of requital ; knifing his ain ego. after eventually acknowledging the immorality that he had become.

Is this guild-ridden compunction for fright of ageless damnation? No. it is in fact Dorian eventually facing his wickednesss and paying the ultimate monetary value for them by his ain manus ; and therefore is his morality reversed in the act of the stabbing and the acknowledgment of the symbolism of it through the human Dorian and the portrayal altering their visual aspects. This proves that Wilde wrote this narrative in order for a debasement morality to hold a opportunity of alteration. even at the last minute and weaknesss of life.

Dorian had thought himself beguiled by Basil’s ain forceful congratulations of young person and so his debut to Lord Henry who confirmed young person was the greatest award ; nevertheless. by the terminal of the narrative. Dorian has changed his morality into thought that he is so responsible for his ain actions through the class of his life and that with this duty and his owning of the action of knifing himself. Dorian becomes purified and therefore takes his true signifier. Work Cited Baker. H. A. Jr. A Tragedy of the Artist: The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Nineteenth-Century Fiction. Vol. 24. No. 3 ( Dec. . 1969 ) . pp. 349-355. Brown. R. D. Suetonius. Symonds. and Gibbon in The Picture of Dorian Gray Modern Language Notes. Vol. 71. No. 4 ( Apr. . 1956 ) . p. 264. Lawler. D. & A ; C. E. Knott. The Context of Invention: Suggested Origins of “Dorian Gray” Modern Philology. Vol. 73. No. 4. Separate 1 ( May. 1976 ) . pp. 389-398. Wikipedia. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Online Accessed April 19. 2007. hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Dorian_Gray. Wilde. O. The Picture of Dorian Gray Modern Library Classics. New York. 1998.