The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1890 Words May 6th, 2016 8 Pages
The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel laced with sin, treachery, and raging battles of inner conflict, is Oscar Wilde’s sole novel. Considered immoral and scandalous upon publication, the book centers around a young man named Dorian Gray, who does not age or reflect the darkness of his heart outwardly, and instead a portrait of him bears the damage his destructive life wreaks on his soul. However, the meaning of the story extends past the simple fact that Dorian lives a life of immorality—he walks the path that takes him there with his two friends, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotten. The two attempt to guide and influence Dorian throughout the novel in their own ways, and are a vital piece of Dorian’s tale. Basil and Henry act as character foils as well as a symbolic angel and devil for Dorian Gray’s character, and also contribute themes of choosing one’s own fate. Basil Hallward and Henry Wotten are quite the opposite of each other—Basil is unwaveringly conventional in his values while Henry instead enjoys entertaining the idea of radical and inappropriate ways of thinking (on page 4, he claims that “the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary,” to which Basil responds that he “hate[s] the way [Henry] talks about his married life). Because of their profoundly contrasting ideas, they are not so much foils for each other as they are for Dorian Gray. It is by these two men that one measures Dorian’s place on the scale of morality.…

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