The Character of Dorian Gray Essay

The following essay will explore the character of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The idea of Dorian’s weakening morality will be highlighted in this essay and the juxtaposition of the character’s image and his physical look will be a main part in the development of thesis of this essay. The theme of morality will be a major issue in this paper as it is through morality that Dorian has actually considerably decreased into his stygian state.

Oscar Wilde presents the reader with an extremely modern novel, both in theme, place setting, and character advancement.

The reader is presented to Dorian Gray through Basil Hallward; the 2 characters are the core of the book’s actions. In truth the 2 characters, Basil and Dorian, although equally enthralled with each other at the start of the novel, end up being significantly distance as the novel advances and as Dorian discovers himself in moral turpitude through the tutelage of Lord Henry Wotton Lord Henry took a look at him. Yes, he was definitely incredibly good-looking, with his finely-curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair. There was something in his face that made one trust him simultaneously.

All the candour of youth existed, in addition to all youth’s passionate pureness. One felt that he had actually kept himself unspotted from the world. Not surprising that Basil Hallward worshipped him (Chapter Two). In the very first exchange in between Dorian and Lord Henry, the style of the novel, that of youth and its disappearance, brings Dorian to curse his portrait due to the fact that it will only be a tip of how beautiful and young he as soon as was, and with this curse it is revealed to the reader how essential the aspect of youth is to Dorian whose sole belief in himself rests with this particular.

Within the style of youth is the ultimate curse of Dorian, for it is within this context that he becomes a doomed ‘hero’ and for that reason loses his love, his life, and in the end of the story, his youth. Thus, the product which he once valued becomes his failure. It is with this curse that is Dorian’s lamenting of the pictures long lasting youth, that Dorian uses his soul in exchange for the pictures youth to be moved to him while the portrait bears the brutality of Dorian’s life. In a type of Faustian decline, Lord Henry presents Dorian into a really devastating lifestyle in which Dorian ends up being absolutely enthralled.

This brand-new way of life has lots of carnal enjoyments and Dorian dives into it headfirst, exercising no judgment just the adventure of the moment, without remorse, regret, or factor at times (Baker 1969). Although this might be thought about to be Lord Henry’s influence, Dorian embraces this lifestyle with eagerness. It is Dorian’s choice how he lives, and although it may be considered to have been a kind of brainwashing, Dorian latches onto the ideals presented by Lord Henry because very first discussion in Basil’s house. In truth, the factor that Basil had actually admired Dorian, at least according to Dorian, is because of his youth and charm.

Therefore, Basil in the act of painting Dorian repeats this theme. The support for this thesis runs consistent for most of the interactions amongst the characters in the book. In among the first examples the reader finds of Dorian’s changing portrait is when Dorian falls for an actress by the name of Sibyl Vane. However, the predicament of these 2 enthusiasts is that Dorian falls in love with Sibyl due to the fact that of her acting abilities; the twist is that given that Sibyl has fallen for Dorian she no longer believes she can pretend to be in love on phase and thus stops her acting career (Wikipedia).

After this event, Dorian turns down Sibyl and breaks off their engagement, “He flung himself down on the couch, and turned away his face. “You have killed my love,” he murmured.” (Chapter 7). This is when the audience and Dorian see the first modifications in Dorian’s image; his photo, once loaded with youth, charm and an enthusiastic innocence, now sneers. This is the first sign of decline and it is not seen on Dorian’s picture best face but instead is passed on to the audience through the pictures physiognomy (Brown p. 264).

After this realization that Dorian’s curse has come true, Dorian looks for to make retributions with his ethical perseverance and to apologize with Sibyl. Regardless of this last ditch effort, and even of the one chance Dorian has in the course of the novel to make reprimands, Lord Henry tells Dorian that Sibyl has eliminated herself which he, Dorian, need to take the suicide as a type of creative victory. Thus, Dorian is advised to live without regret or worse, with no regret for his actions and involvement in the young girl’s death Yet it was viewing him, with its beautiful marred face and its cruel smile. Its brilliant hair shone in the early sunlight.

Its blue eyes satisfied his own. A sense of limitless pity, not for himself, however for the painted image of himself, came over him. It had changed already, and would modify more. Its gold would wither into grey. Its red and white roses would die. For every sin that he dedicated, a stain would fleck and damage its fairness. But he would not sin. The picture, changed or unchanged, would be to him the visible emblem of conscience. He would resist temptation. He would not see Lord Henry any more–(End of Chapter 7). From this point in the unique and onwards, there can be no rescue of Dorian because this is required the crossroads of the story.

If Dorian can not succumb to alter his carnal lifestyle at the suicide, which he aided in, of his love, then there appears to be no expect the young man and the rest of the course of the plot is full of Dorian’s revolting ethical character and the consistent impact of Lord Henry, and the gentle if somewhat missing depictions of Dorian as seen through Basil’s eyes. The story is quite like Faust due to the fact that it is at the climax of the carnal way of life and its full meaning that Dorian has a change of heart and repents, however it is not up until after Dorian has had his carnal way of life that this penance is revealed.

Dorian is conscious of his changing ethical character and in this light, he looks for to hide his portrait in an upper room of his house where just he may see the altering and aberrant images changing Dorian’s physiognomy. The catch in the novel nevertheless is that in the eighteen years of Dorian’s interaction with London society on a debasing character, the elite of society continual to accept him, regardless of his moral character because Dorian remains young and lovely.

While the battle between Lord Henry and Basil has actually happened in the early phases of the novel, and it is obvious that Lord Henry has won, Basil however goes to Dorian’s house to confront Dorian about his flagging reputation in London society. While at Dorian’s home however, Dorian chooses to reveal Basil his picture of Dorian, and therefore, the artist is confronted with how Dorian’s soul has actually been distorted through almost 20 years of unethical living. Basil nevertheless is not put off by this effrontery and still asks Dorian to change his methods.

The reader nevertheless understands that the time for change would have been with Sibyl, and if Dorian can not alter his character after her suicide, then all hope is lost. Basil still continues, and in a fit of rage, against himself, and for Basil having experienced the fact of Dorian’s soul, Dorian stabs Basil to death The mad passions of a hunted animal stirred within him, and he loathed the guy who was seated at the table, more than in his entire life he had actually ever loathed anything. He glanced hugely around. Something glimmered on the top of the painted chest that faced him.

His eye fell on it. He knew what it was. It was a knife that he had actually brought up, some days in the past, to cut a piece of cord, and had actually forgotten to take away with him. He moved slowly towards it, passing Hallward as he did so. As quickly as he got behind him, he seized it, and turned round. Hallward stirred in his chair as if he was going to increase. He hurried at him, and dug the knife into the fantastic vein that is behind the ear, crushing the male’s head down on the table, and stabbing again and again (Chapter 13).

Dorian’s objective in life now is to leave from guilt, which is an uphill struggle due to the fact that just the guilty party has the ultimate power to induce regret. After being challenged by Sibyl’s sibling James Vane, and after James’ accidental death at a hunting celebration Dorian wants to alter his life. Dorian does not know how to repent his considering that without a total confession of them therefore fear causes him to be stagnant in his decision. In Dorian’s decision to confess his criminal offenses, and yet not able to be plucky enough to do it, his portrait now reflects his intents to be hypocrisy.

In this new vein of the story, Dorian, in yet another classic fit of rage, revenge, or vulnerability, Dorian picks up the exact same knife he utilized to eliminate Basil and attacks his self-portrait. The story then goes to the third individual narrative and the servants hear a loud crash and go to discover what the sound was, and when they unlock, the servants and the readers find that the picture has been brought back to its formal appeal and youth which Dorian lies an old, disfigured man on the flooring with a knife plunged into his heart.

Therefore, with Dorian’s last act of repentance, he has the ability to change that which he had cursed and traded his soul for in the beginning of Wilde’s story (Lawler & & Knott p. 390). This, as mentioned prior is the Faust element of the story, the change of heart of the lead character after having fulfilled his enjoyment and had his share of dark enjoyable. Dorian’s character then consists of a youth who is innocence, then encouraged by Lord Henry to live only for satisfaction, then after killing Basil, and seeing his love’s sibling eliminated, and after gazing at the state of his soul in the portrait Dorian modifications.

It is this last that has the full affect on him; Dorian, faced with his true image, and the hate, jealousy, snide nature that has actually become him, becomes overloaded with reality and can not believe the state of it, and thus, need to cover up this last little bit of proof; he should kill himself. With this last act, the reader is confronted with the ambiguous finding of whether through his actions Dorian was able to alter what he had actually developed through eighteen years of carnal enjoyment seeking with his one act of retribution; stabbing his own self, after lastly acknowledging the evil that he had actually become.

Is this guild-ridden regret for fear of eternal damnation? No, it is in truth Dorian lastly facing his sins and paying the supreme cost for them by his own hand; and therefore is his morality reversed in the act of the stabbing and the recognition of the symbolism of it through the human Dorian and the picture changing their looks. This shows that Wilde wrote this story in order for a deterioration morality to have a possibility of change, even at the last minute and failings of life.

Dorian had believed himself seduced by Basil’s own forceful appreciation of youth and then his intro to Lord Henry who verified youth was the best reward; however, by the end of the story, Dorian has actually altered his morality into thinking that he is indeed responsible for his own actions through the course of his life and that with this responsibility and his owning of the action of stabbing himself, Dorian ends up being purified and hence takes his true type. Work Mentioned Baker, H. A. Jr. A Catastrophe of the Artist: The Image of Dorian Gray.

Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Dec., 1969), pp. 349-355. Brown, R. D. Suetonius, Symonds, and Gibbon in The Image of Dorian Gray Modern Language Notes, Vol. 71, No. 4 (Apr., 1956), p. 264. Lawler, D. & & C. E. Knott. The Context of Innovation: Suggested Origins of “Dorian Gray” Modern Philology, Vol. 73, No. 4, Part 1 (May, 1976), pp. 389-398. Wikipedia. The Image of Dorian Gray. Online Accessed April 19, 2007. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Dorian _ Gray. Wilde, O. The Image of Dorian Gray Modern Library Classics, New York City. 1998.

You Might Also Like