Dorian Gray Rhetorical Elements

Decent Essays
Michelle Huynh
ENGL 1301.002
Rhetorical Analysis (Final Copy)
October 23, 2017
Rhetorical Analysis of “Oscar Wilde’s Aesthetic Gothic: Walter Pater, Dark Enlightenment, and The Picture of Dorian Gray”
In “Oscar Wilde’s Aesthetic Gothic: Walter Pater, Dark Enlightenment, and The Picture of Dorian Gray,” John Paul Riquelme explores the contradicting perspectives of Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater on aestheticism. The author discusses the concept of aesthetic gothic and discovering beauty within darkness. Thereupon, Riquelme remains in agreement with Wilde and attempts to persuade scholars and readers of the journal that elements of aestheticism exist within the Gothic and vice versa. Riquelme also implies that there are lessons taught and learned through the darkness in beauty and in life. This rhetorical analysis focuses on how the author utilizes the rhetorical appeal ethos, evidence, and subheadings to effectively impact his audience.

Rhetorical Situation Riquelme uses ethos effectively and establishes his credibility by presenting the readers with evidence to back up his claims. Throughout the article, the author refers to Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which Wilde criticizes Pater’s literary works and asserts the notion of beauty in the Gothic. In one instance, Riquelme recounts an event in chapter 1 when Lord Henry Wotton catches a glimpse of “the fantastic shadows of birds in flight” and “laburnum blossoms whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs” (140). The contrast in connotation within the phrase “fantastic shadows” explores the effects of light and darkness. In conjunction, “laburnum blossoms” used against “tremulous branches” visually depicts the notion of beauty within destruction. The author convinces the audience of his viewpoint on aestheticism through this juxtaposed imagery. By referring back to this personification early in the novel, Riquelme demonstrates sound knowledge of Wilde’s text, perspective, and purpose. In addition, it is appropriate of the author to reference this particular passage as it foresees the theme of creation and destruction of life as well as aesthetic in Gothic writing, which emerges
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