The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

1967 WordsFeb 4, 20188 Pages
In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde disputes the role and conflicts between Aestheticism and morality. He exposes his contradictions and inner struggles throughout his three main characters: Lord Henry, a nobleman who criticizes the moralism and hypocrisy of Victorian society and openly expresses his Aesthetic thoughts, Dorian Gray, a handsome model influenced by Lord Henry’s views on beauty and morality, and Basil Hallward, an artist captivated by Dorian’s beauty. The novel mainly deals with the different views the three men have on art, beauty and morality. The story is based on the degradation of Dorian's soul, which is reflected in his portrait. As Dorian steps closer to immorality and corruption, the portrait changes in appearance which eventually gives form to a hideous, unrecognizable figure. The goal of this essay is to expose the constant correlation between Dorian’s Aesthetic beliefs and morality and how his new lifestyle leads him to search for personal satisfaction regardless of the consequences. Aestheticism originated in the Romantic period and the Pre-Raphaelites and expanded in Western Europe and America throughout the nineteenth century. Water Pater was one of the most influential forces of Aestheticism in the nineteenth century and greatly influenced a large number of philosophers. Aestheticism includes a certain devotion to art and implies the significance of beauty compared to other principles such as morality. Aestheticism separates art from
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