The Picture Of Dorian Gray Analysis

1767 Words8 Pages
Oscar Wilde once said, “No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to exist.” This quote foreshadows the death of artist Basil Hallward in his The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde is known for being a participant in the aesthetic movement. This movement emphasized that the role of art is to provide beauty to the observer. In other words, art should not have a deeper meaning to it. Wilde stresses this principle in many of his writings, but one book, however, seems to portray this idea differently compared to his other works. The Picture of Dorian Gray shows the negative influence of art on its characters. Most characters in the book put more thought into the things that they consider art, whether it be a painting or even a person. In the end, only one of the original characters remains alive. In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, art is used as a key motivator behind the character’s actions to cause ill fortune to those invested in its deeper meaning.
Many other scholars have noted Wilde’s thoughts on the purpose of art. Michele Mendelssohn writes in her “Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Aesthetic Culture” that Wilde appears to be an “aesthete-for-hire” (90) and that his “purpose in the late 1880s and early 1890s was to shed this image and develop his own aesthetic ideals” (90). Ann W. Astell continues this idea in her “’My Life is a Work of Art’: Oscar Wilde’s Novelistic and Religious Conversion”. She writes that Wilde mimics the ideas of
Get Access