The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1576 Words7 Pages
Transformation in Literature
Greek Philosopher Heraclitus once said “There is nothing permanent except change”. In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the theme of transformation is constant throughout the novel; however it is not portrayed as something that is permanent. Through the protagonist’s transformation, Oscar Wilde 's novel is suggesting that the hedonistic lifestyle, a lifestyle where gaining pleasure is the main goal of a person’s life, may seem like it is an exciting and wonderful way to live, however a person will slowly be corrupted if they are not careful in the way they carry out their lifestyle. Their life must be taken into their own hands and they must choose the people to be around and what they will do with
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Furthermore, Dorian Gray 's transformation wasn 't the only transformation in the novel; Painter Basil Hallward and actress Sybil Vane transform in different ways, while still conveying Oscar Wilde 's idea that in order to stay pure and keep one’s life in control one must choose carefully where and with whom one spends their time.
In the beginning of the novel Dorian Gray 's transformation is slow and he is not aware of what is happening to him. Only when his transformation is presented in front of his face does he even consider the fact that he is changing. After Dorian comes back from the theater, where he rudely “breaks up” with an actress he had been in love with, he looks at a portrait of himself that his good friend Basil Hallward had painted for him a few years back. He sees a change in what had been a flawless face; he thinks he sees what might be cruelty. He questions what he sees and asks "Had [I] been cruel?” (Wilde 81) He then realizes that he had been cruel to his “girlfriend,” the actress Sybil Vane. He finally sees that he is changing and he needs to stop being friends with the Hedonist, Lord Henry, the man who is corrupting him.
While Dorian Gray needs to have the proof in front of his face to be able to understand that he is slowly changing, it is clear to other characters that the innocent young man that was presented at the very beginning of the novel is no longer the same. Basil Hallward realizes Dorian’s change before anyone else.
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