Haunting From The Portraits Of The Past In The Picture

1446 WordsApr 2, 20176 Pages
Haunting from the Portraits of the Past in The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde 's speculative novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) revolves around Dorian Gray’s fixations and fascinations with art. Art is the "expression of application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power" (Oxford English Dictionary). Dorian Gray 's fixation on art, is used to invoke a sense of terror and spectral haunting for readers as the subjects depicted in pieces of art are unchanging. Art is produced to "be appreciated primarily for their beauty of emotional power" (OED). The speaker in chapter eleven of The Picture of…show more content…
These objects are used to beautify the body, and seem to draw attention away from the stories that are hidden beyond such adornments. Readers meet terror, which is something that invokes extreme fear and has connotations of intense anxiety, in this passage because Dorian Gray fills in the blanks by describing not just what the subjects of the portraits are wearing on their bodies, but also the faces they wear. The heavily lidded curious eyes of Lady Elizabeth Devereux are nearly missed after being described her dress and the flowers that surround her. George Willoughby’s “sensual lips twisted with disdain” too, are nearly overlooked as we notice the delicate lace ruffles of his coat. There is a sort of spectral haunting as Dorian walks through his house to view these portraits because it feels as of his ancestors are still there watching his every move. They surround him on all sides, his own mother “laughing at him” with her beautiful Lady Hamilton like face; her eyes “seemed to follow him wherever he went” (121). What seems to be simple dress-up for a wealthy family like Dorian 's, has disguised reasoning behind it. The public knows only what they are shown. For Dorian 's ancestors, their beauty is further enhanced by what they wear. Unless given access to one 's true self, people take what they see at face value and base
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