The Picture of Dorian Gray: Corruption Through Aestheticism
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is the story of moral corruption by the means of aestheticism. In the novel, the well meaning artist
Basil Hallward presets young Dorian Gray with a portrait of himself. After conversing with cynical Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian makes a wish which dreadfully affects his life forever. "If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that"
(Wilde 109). As it turns out, the devil that Dorian sells his soul to is Lord
Henry Wotton, who exists not only as something external to Dorian, but …show more content…
For Dorian, this is the ultimate evil act, the desire to rid himself of all moral sense. Having failed the attempt to escape through good actions, he decides to escape by committing the most terrible of crimes. Aestheticism has claimed its final victim. "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks of me: Dorian Gray what I would like to be - in other ages, perhaps" (Hart-
Davis 352). Because of the endings he creates for these characters, Oscar Wilde proves that he does not envisions himself in the immoral characters of this story nor is he attempting to promote their lifestyles. Of all the characters whom he creates, he sees himself as Basil, the good artist who sacrifices himself to fight immorality. "It was his beauty that had ruined him, his beauty and the youth that he had prayed for" (Wilde 242). Contrary to Wilde's claim in the preface that,
"there is no such thing as a moral or immoral book" (vii), this novel has a deep and meaningful purpose. "The moral is that an absence of spirituality, of faith, of regard for human life, separates individuals like Wilde's Dorian Gray from humanity and makes monsters of them" (West 5831). W.H. Auden feels that the story is specifically structured to provide a moral. He compares the story to that of a fairy tale, complete with a princess, a wicked witch, and a fairy godmother.
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“England is bad enough I know, and English society is all wrong” (Wilde, 145). The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Ernest are both ingenious literary works by the witty Oscar Wilde. The lead roles Dorian Gray and Jack Worthing are the perfect examples of how the Victorian society was phony. Although one is tragic and the other comedic both works by Oscar Wilde offer a social comment on the hypocrisy of the Victorian Era. Through the protagonist’s superficiality, deception and consequence of living a double life such comments are presented. While their superficiality and ability to deceive people are quite similar their consequences for their actions differ a great deal.
Aestheticism was a popular dogma in the late 1800s that centered on the belief that art should exist for beauty alone. This doctrine is defined as an “exaggerated devotion to art, music, or poetry, with indifference to practical matters” and “the acceptance of artistic beauty and taste as a fundamental standard, ethical and other standards being secondary” (“Aestheticism,” def. 1 and 2). In Oscar Wilde’s sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, aestheticism is a fashionable belief accepted by society at the time. Oscar Wilde uses the moral deterioration and ultimate destruction of Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray to emphasize the negative effects of society’s preoccupation with aesthetics and offer a moral for the reader.
This essay explores the various types of art used in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The focus is made on the three types of art: the picture of Dorian Gray, the yellow book and the actress. It examines the way Wilde chooses to develop his novel’s characters’ personalities and destinies by asking: what is the role of art
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.
MWDS : The Picture of Dorian Gray ! AP English IV Title of Work: The Picture of Dorian Gray Author: Oscar Wilde Date of Publication: 1890 Genre: Gothic Biographical Information Oscar Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 to Sir William Wilde and Jane Wilde, the second of three children.
Finally, Wilde says that he would like to be Dorian but in another time. Dorian starts out as a handsome, wealthy gentleman that's innocent. He is quickly seduced by Lord Henry's words and starts to live life for all its pleasures. These acts are obviously not accepted by the public and with his picture taking all the flaws, his image is never damaged. In my opinion, I believe that when Wilde said he wants to be Dorian, it's because he wishes that he could "get rid of a temptation" by yielding to it,
As Dorian listens to Lord Henry and realizes the importance of his youth and the time that he has, he begins to venture out and manipulate others including friends and strangers. His new outlook on life encourages his act of narcissism and superiority (Duggan). "Dorian Gray personifies the aesthetic lifestyle in action, pursuing personal gratification with abandonment. Yet, while he enjoys these indulgences, his behavior ultimately kills him and others, and he dies
Lord Henry feels that, "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself..." (Wilde 13). Lord Henry tries to persuade Dorian to believe that listening to his conscience will only bring him pain. Dorian must give into temptation if he wants to be happy. Dorian listens acutely to Henry's words. Dorian now has a justification for ignoring his conscience and acting sinfully. Slowly Henry's influence takes over Dorian's conscience.
As a whole, this opening confrontation between Lord Henry and Dorian’s initial character proves several points: one, Dorian does have his own passions and soul before meeting Lord Henry, and two, Lord Henry’s teachings initially echo Dorian’s own feelings, which are what draw him to Lord Henry over the two-dimensional Basil Hallward. Later, ironically, it is Lord Henry’s own teachings which leads to Dorian’s struggle to repress his "true self" and ultimately bring about his downfall.
Staring from the definition found in the dictionary, the decadence is a literary movement especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations. 
As the novel goes on so does Dorian's life. He begins to be under the control of Lord Henry to some degree. He also begin's to spend more time with Lord Henry, who is
Throughout the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde tells a tale about a young man named Dorian whose entire life changes after he meets Basil Hallward, who paints a portrait of Gray that ultimately leads to Gray’s demise. At the same time, Dorian also meets Lord Henry, who eventually plays a bad influence over Dorian. The portrait shows the man Dorian has become
In Oscar Wilde’s Popular nineteenth century novel, the Picture of Dorian Gray demonstrates the importance of the aesthetic movement in Victorian England. This suggests youth and physical attractiveness is emphasized and are valuable additions to society. Therefore, what matters to Dorian, is not the internal goodness an individual possesses but the appearance they present. Consequently, Dorian is able to forget the violent acts he commits as long as he appears beautiful on the outside. Since external beauty is valued, Wilde argues that people tend to lose their individualism and conform to society’s expectations. With this in mind, Dorian gray grows more corrupt, self-centered as he focuses more on the pleasure for himself as he becomes more vulnerable to his own misgivings. He loses his individualism, because he is conforming to society’s form of asethics. I agree with Wilde’s arguement about Dorian Gray, that individuals lose their sense of idenity when conforming to society’s influence, such as in today’s beauty standards portrayed on social media, racism described through facism, and LGBTQ rights violated by intolerant individuals. (too wordy)
In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde the eponymous character Dorian follows the lifestyle of New Hedonism. This lifestyle advocates a complete abandon to your impulses, and does not believe in following social dictates or morals. The book illustrates the long-term effects of new hedonism, showing the destruction and death Dorian creates due to following this creed, eventually leading him to complete madness and his own destruction.