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The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

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One of Oscar Wilde’s most challenging themes, not only in his writing, but also in his professional life, is that of formulating an authentic identity in the realism of a hedonistic, pleasure-seeking lifestyle without boundaries. By first looking at this challenge in all its facets, it will be easier to comprehend the fundamental theme in his book The Picture of Dorian Gray. In his professional life, Wilde became known for his short stories, poems, plays, his only novel, and his wit. Wilde became a celebrity in London after distinguishing himself as an superb author. In Oxford, “he became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin.” Wilde would wear his hair long and would dress up in colorful clothes and peacock-feathers all with the intention to astonish and incite. Aestheticism can be found in a lot of his works – recognizably The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is metaphorically presented in the book by a debauched, egotistical aristocrat who has the whole world at his fingertips, Lord Henry Wotton, and a flawed, beautiful gentleman who identifies his beauty as his only worthwhile quality, Dorian Gray. However, Wilde’s success dramatically decreased when in 1895, he was on trial in what is called “The Queensberry Scandal.” He was charged for “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and was ultimately condemned to two years of hard labor. On his release, he was poor and
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