Essay on The Picture of Dorian Gray as a Moral Book

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The Picture of Dorian Gray as a Moral Book


The Picture of Dorian Gray was a remarkably well-written book due to the reaction of its themes by society.  In the preface of the novel, Wilde introduces the opinion that "...there is no moral or immoral book.  Books are well written or badly written.  That is all."  Numerous views can be taken upon this fastidious comment.  Many would agree that Wilde is justifiably correct because the preface was written with the intention that his readers understand the deeper meaning of the themes than worrying about whether it is considered morally acceptable; or perhaps, the view that it could be considered moral or immoral by the impact it has on the readers'
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iniquitous beliefs of his on the unsuspecting Dorian.  He tells him "Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul," which implies for Dorian to give into his deepest wants and desires no matter how dirty or sinful they are.  He continues to spin Dorian into his web of sin by telling him that "you know less than you want to know," which makes him curious as to what other pleasures he could find in the world.  When Dorian falls in love with Sybil Vane, he tries to write her off as some poor, useless nobody who could never please Dorian's deepest desires.  He does this partly because he is jealous of his love for her, since it is made obvious that Lord Henry finds Dorian a strikingly handsome man, and partly for pleasure, to get a high off of ruining one of Dorian's attempts at redemption.  Even when Dorian goes as far as killing Basil, Lord Wotton tells him that crime is "simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations."  It is not until Lord Henry makes this comment about how murder is not a terrible thing that Dorian begins to realize the true vastness of his sins, and in the only salvation he knows, he later goes to kill himself.  Dorian's downfall due to Lord Henry's actions teaches moral of being centered on selfishness. 


            Dorian's character makes a vast amount of change in the eighteen years that he
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