Analysis of Dorian Gray: an Aesthetic Boy

To describe the walking dead all of the following apply: soulless, pressing appetite, actions based simply on instinct; these qualities integrated, with or without the decomposing flesh, make a zombie but likewise can be readily used to the primary character of The Image of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The unique analyzes the value of appeal and satisfaction and poses an extremely interesting contradiction in between the conventional views of morality and lifestyle. Dorian, an aesthetic boy, is tempted into vice, therefore selling his soul for everlasting charm.

In the late 19th century, Saul Kripke: a theorist, proposed the concept of philosophical zombies. His theory proposed a creature visually and behaviorally the same as a human being that lacks qualia, soul and sentience (Kirk 2). While it is easy for readers to simply write Dorian’s worsening acts of societally rejected habits as immoral, it can be argued that the lead character had no concept of morals to start with, and hence discovers the general public’s immoral as ethical and vice versa. In the preface of the novel, Wilde asserts that “There is no such thing as an ethical or immoral book. Books are well written, or severely written. That is all” (3 ).

This is a statement that is great to be born in mind when evaluating the main character’s actions. Subtly, through a variety of literary gadgets– namely characterization, archetypes, and motifs– Wilde forces the reader to experience life in all its glory along with shame through a zombie’s eyes. To properly analyze the character of Dorian Gray it must initially be comprehended that there is a distinct difference in between somebody who lacks morals and someone that is immoral; the very first lacks the qualia that provide the concepts of right or wrong, and the 2nd is somebody who understands the difference and picks to act immorally. Dorian Gray is the previous. Upon meeting Dorian, Lord Henry immediately observes “All the candour of youth existed, in addition to all youth’s enthusiastic pureness. One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. No surprise Basil Hallward worshipped him” (Wilde 17), the most crucial word being pureness.

Dorian does not have a sense of right or incorrect at the beginning of the novel since he simply looks onto the world. It is not reviewed him in anyhow due to the fact that Dorian is, simply put, in capable of perceiving on his own, lacking the life to do so. He simply does, drifting from (probably) male figure to male figure seeking some sort of attention and assistance; he does not act, he just reacts to the world around him. Basil Hallward, a painter, appreciates Dorian for his appeal– but it is neither the scarlet lips nor the golden hair that attracts him but rather the blankness of his soul, and that is the first tip that our protagonist is, in fact, as zombie. Basil tells Lord Henry, “Dorian Gray is to me merely a motive in art. You may see absolutely nothing in him. I see whatever in him. He is never ever more present in my work than when no picture of him exists” (Wilde 13). Henry will see absolutely nothing because nothing is present. He is a strolling art piece, thoughtless, though reacting as human might and that is what attracts both Basil Hallward and Lord Henry to Dorian like moths to light. His character is something that can not be understood by either guy, since it does not have the elements of character to start with.

However, as all fantastic novels need a plot, Henry seeks to color the kid’s snow white mind with qualia of the darkest tones, and while doing so, readers start observe the unique difference in between Dorian and his human pals. This book has plenty of archetypes. From inanimate ones, such as the winding staircase in Dorian’s house that represents the journey of life or the tower in which the protagonist conceals his rotting portrait that represents the depth of the human soul, to living archetypes, such as Basil Hallward who illustrates Victorian morals and Lord Henry who is the direct opposition. Meanwhile, Dorian simply is. He sits between 2 extremes, Basil, who thinks individuals are inherently kind and, Henry, who believes that all people live their lives avoiding sin until they undoubtedly give up. Continuously, their views of right and incorrect are imposed on him, ultimately confusing him. His original friend cautions him from living the method Henry tells him to, but the artist did not enforce his own qualia on him from the start.

The first views Dorian internalizes are from Henry, the very same guy who believes that “experience holds no ethical worth” (Wilde 54) and,” [likes] persons without any principles many of all” (11 ). Lord Henry separates himself from sensations, choosing to be an observer of the constraints of humans. He attempts to see just how much black paint he can smear across Basil’s blank canvas of a boy, signifying the fight of great and wicked– an external conscience instead of an internal one. In the end, Dorian is smeared from head to toe in what society consider as sin, strengthened when he takes Basil’s life. At this point, he has live thirty-eight years, with approximately eighteen of them being affected by hedonism. Dorian takes those ideas and develops a sense of right and wrong, appeal being the basis for his values. The color white is a theme that is duplicated throughout the text, from Basil’s first description of Dorian (Wilde 4) to his final plea, “Though your sins be scarlet, […] I will make them white as snow” (140 ). It is Basil’s love (the running source of homoeroticism in the novel) for Dorian that leads him to appeal for his life another, however god does not fit into Dorian’s individual view of morality.

Pleasures of the flesh, great times and visual appeals are the basis of his virtue and love– a weak and vulnerable emotion, is a craven sin. He eliminates Basil, staining his hands for the very first time with genuine blood. Later on he muses on how if it had been Basil, not Lord Henry, who had actually imposed his views on his blank self that his life might have gone in a different way, however he does not dwell. He gets rid of the body and continues as though it is absolutely nothing at all, due to the fact that murder does not fall under his understanding of immoral. Dorian has a present, or a curse, to be indifferent to the world once his soul is lost, lord Henry’s views being the qualia he internalizes before selling his soul. He does not age, he does not feel– he prospers off of physical stimuli, particularly opium and sex, and the beautiful things in life alone. When struck, he cries out, when frustrated, he complains– Dorian Gray functions like a person, however unlike his buddies, the ways of the world do not affect him on a psychological level; permanently young, forever beautiful, life is a series of physical reactions to outside stimulus, none of it truly being internalized.

Oscar Wilde was known to be a guy that challenged the conventions of Victorian society. He never goes into detail about the dishonest things that Dorian does throughout the text, and this literary choice spares the readers of perceptiveness but likewise illustrates Dorian’s absence of cognizance. If anything, the lead character simply records life, rather than earnestly feeling anything at all. Given that he is the reverse of a decomposing corpse, Dorian Gray still exists as a zombie: a creature doing not have qualia, life, and a soul, and Wilde illuminates this really interesting condition through his use of characterization, concepts and symbolic archetypes. The terrific playwright advises readers starting the unique, “There is no such thing as a moral or an unethical book. Books are well composed, or badly composed. That is all” (4 ), and the exact same is true of the book’s lead character. He is not immoral, however rather lacking in morals, borrowing the concepts of Lord Henry before eventually giving up on functioning without the capability to feel. Through Dorian’s naïve treading of what is normally accepted as unethical waters, Wilde contests society with lots of bold declarations, challenging the reader to check out the pages without bias. A zombie in a human’s world, Dorian eventually catches tension, however not without painting a beautiful allegory that has actually stood the test of time.

Functions Cited
Kirk, Robert. “Zombies”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = Wilde, Oscar. The Photo of Dorian Gray. London: Ward, Lock & & Business, 1891. Print.

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