The story of Dorian Gray begins in England, where the artist Basil
Hallward paints a portrait of the young, beautiful and so naive Dorian Gray.
During the stay at the painter, Dorian Lord meets Henry Wotton, who will change
his life forever. When Dorian, with the help of the painter’s portrait, gets
his eyes on his own beauty, he wishes to age in the portrait instead of
himself. After all, Dorian notices that his wish has come true – he retains his
youthful beauty while the portrait is marked by the passage of time. While
Dorian raised his eyes for his own beauty and charm, he became acquainted with
Lord Henry’s decadent theories revealing the hypocrisy of the Victorian
society. Strengthened by his new consciousness, Dorian does not allow himself
to be stopped by moral hesitation, but lives his life in his lust, with the
beauty as the highest ideal. After a while, Dorian notices to not only tell
about his physical aging; it also shows the change of his soul. Cruelty,
sarcasm, cynicism and all the evil actions that Dorian performs are reflected
in the portrait, while Dorian himself looks just as innocent as when it was
painted. Despite this opportunity for insight into his own soul life, he keeps
the painting intact and does not look like a problem. As time goes by, Dorian
doll is increasingly applying for its own fear of a possible discovery. As his
sin grows and gets worse, he gets even more ill conscience and becomes
increasingly desperate. In the end, he decides two turns away with the only
visible testimony of his sinful life; board.
The story takes place in London under the 19th century. There are
historical factors the reader could look for; Oscar Wilde provides the reader
with information such as that they used horse and carriage in the novel. And
there is a contrast between the rich and the poor area in London.
Lord Henry is a nobleman that is highly wealthy and he is also a close
friend of Basil Hallward at the same time he aid Dorian as a mentor and
stimulates him spiritually to live a life committed to happiness and pleasure.
In the novel, we can see the influence Lord Henry Wotton as a mentor has on
Dorian Gray and his decisions in life. Lord Henry Wotton’s influence on Dorian
Gray is clearly demonstrated when he is given the yellow book. This yellow book
on one hand yellow symbolizes happiness and freshness, which is Lord Henry’s
representation of life, and on the other hand, yellow symbolizes cowardice and
deceit (practice of misleading and dishonesty).
Dorian Gray is the main character of the novel”The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
Dorian Gray is so many opposites at once that he really cannot even understand them;
he is bad, good, secretive, beautiful etc. But the two most important opposites
that we deal with in the novel is Dorian as a human being/individual but at the
same time him as the portrait painted by Basil Hallward, which is a visible
reflection of his soul and his state.
Omniscient third person narrator, with focus on Lord Henry and
subsequently Dorian Gray
The language in”The Picture of Dorian Gray” is very
elaborative/decorative, sensual and utopian. The imaginary world Oscar Wilde is
living has a great impact on Dorian Gray as a character and the way he embodies
art and beauty.
Oscar Wilde uses some literary devices to strengthen and to embellish some of
the key-themes in the novel and for this he uses allusions, symbols, metaphors etc.
As an illustration, he uses allusions in the first chapter to introduce and
disclose Dorian as a character to the reader. Dorian is by means of Greek
mythology equated with great figures such as Adonis which is a man of beauty
but he is also equated and associated with Narcissuses which is a man from Greek
mythology who was obsessed with his beauty, the first time he saw himself
through the reflection of a pond that it lead to his death because he couldn’t
stop looking at himself.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is
by means a philosophical novel that illustrates the idea of beauty and expands
on it through Lord Henry and Dorian Gray, to give a detailed description of it.
I would not say there is a specific meaning/purpose behind the novel.
Although I think, the themes in the novel might give a meaning to it. Some of
the themes are for example homosexuality (Oscar Wilde was
homosexual), beauty and perhaps the way women were treated back in the 19th
century. This could be illustrated by looking at one of the feminine
characters, Sibyl Vane.
Sibyl Vane is beautiful, intelligent, and innocent which makes her perfect for
Dorian Gray. She is made up of all components of life that he can see in
himself. Within the novel,”the” woman is described to be physically/mentally
caged. “The joy of a caged bird was in her voice. Her eyes caught the melody,
and echoed it in radiance: then closed for a moment, as though to hide their
secret. When they opened, the mist of dream had passed across them” (60). Sibyl
Vane is addressed to be the”caged bird” and this could possibly represent the
idea that women under 19th century were expected to take care of the households
such as (cooking, looking after the kids, cleaning and etc.) and for this many
felt that they were physically but at the same time mentally caged as many
women didn’t have suffrage (the right to vote). Whilst the man was seen as the”breadwinner”
the one that the family was dependent on. “My dear boy, no woman is a genius.
Women are decorative sex”. (Lord Henry, 47). Here the view on women is clearly
illustrated by Lord Henry in the way that he reasons and judges women as a”decorative
sex”. That women are only used for satisfaction and to please the man’s needs
whenever he requires it, the woman is not seen as a human being, a wife, a
daughter, a sister but rather as an object.
I think one of the most thrilling
moments in the novel is when Sibyl Vane ingests poison and dies from it. This
could be because Dorian Gray said that he didn’t love her anymore and he would
like to see her vanish from his life. This shows that she loved him so much
that without him she couldn’t see a meaning to life.
The audience would perhaps be the
rich people back in the 19th century because as kids they had the ability to
learn how to write and read whilst the poor didn’t have money for education.
10. I love this book. The words that Wilde
used are absolutely incredible; you get completely caught and live in the book.
Lord Henry “raises” Dorian who is a naive young man to a man whom
Lord Henry himself always wanted to be but never dared to be. According to me,
Lord Henry is an evil figure that destroys Doria’s life when he makes Dorian
aware of how great the power of beauty and youth have in society and how to
exploit others with his charm and appearance. The book takes a drastic turn
from funny and romantic to terrifying and horrible when Dorian who is so
innocently beautiful and naive turns into a heartless monster, and it is Lord