The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1950 Words Sep 13th, 2016 8 Pages
In the “Picture of Dorian Gray”, Oscar Wilde prefaces his only novel by examining the value of art and the artist. After a short examination, Wilde concludes that “All art is quite useless” (Wilde, 2), contradicting the principles of the Aesthetic Movement, a contemporary to Wilde and Dorian Gray, that became popular during the fin-de-siècle English Victorian society. Aestheticism believes in imitating art and living life experiencing the pleasures of the world, adopting the hedonistic way of living. A few pages into “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, aesthetics becomes a prominent theme as shown by both the artist Basil Hayward, who uses beauty to inspire his art, and Lord Henry Wotton who praises the aesthetic philosophy murmuring to Dorian that “youth is the one thing worth having.” (Wilde, 24). This seemingly useless sentence holds the crux of the story, as it creates the atmosphere for the revealing of the painting of Dorian Gray which alter the rest of his life. Lord Henry’s aesthetic philosophy critically damage Dorian as up until this point he has lived an ethical life, but soon becomes influenced by Lord Henry’s philosophy that “we never get back our youth” (Wilde, 25) and thus becomes afraid of aging. This fear of ageing causes Dorian Gray to plead with dark forces to never grow old but instead be given the opportunity to retain his youth while the painting ages, admitting that for an opportunity like that that “there is nothing in the world [he] would not give! [He]…

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