The Pursuit Of Self Discovery

2522 Words11 Pages
Dr. McCollister
ENGL 3314
April 4, 2015
The Pursuit of Self-Discovery:
A Psychoanalytic look at The Picture of Dorian Gray

When one hears the title The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde a flash of Faustian images such as villains, tragedy, and worldly pleasures might come to mind. The reader might recall Lord Henry Wotton as the Mephistophelian presence of the novel, and his epigram that “All influence is immoral…because to influence a person is to give him one 's own soul” (Wilde 19-20). But, to say this is the only theme, or even the central them “is to ignore the complexity of the novel, for the central message of the work is no mere repetition of Goethe’s moral code, nor can the influences at work be limited to a single drama of damnation and salvation” (Baker 350). When readers attempt to understand the novel rather than analyze it, they may feel that it is a story about right and wrong or good versus evil; but on the contrary, The Picture of Dorian Gray could in fact be viewed as a representation of Sigmund Freud’s theory of the human psyche, when viewed through a psychological lens. Through the use of varied literary devices Oscar Wilde reveals how Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian Gray, and Basil Hallward embody the Id, Ego, and Superego in The Picture of Dorian Gray. As their behaviors are fully understood and their motivations revealed the reader will be able to fully grasp a clear psychoanalytic interpretation of the novel. This analysis is based on the
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