Certainly you have heard the expression, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde discredits this proverb and shows that words can indeed take over one’s life and damage it forever. In this novel, the reader witnesses Dorian Gray’s fatal bargain, his temptation to explore lust, and his futile attempt to escape his narcissistic behavior. We see this corruption in Dorian as he encounters life’s struggles, particularly from constantly being under the influence of Lord Henry’s influential words.
Youth is a long-standing trait many yearn for, but ever elusive with mortality. The obsession of being youthful easily erodes many lives. When Dorian’s reprehensible life is brought to light, the reader sees fraudulence brought to the extreme by means of death. Dorian’s relentless pursuit of being imperishable is thrust into action the very day Lord Henry comes into his life. Lord Henry recognizes Dorian’s innocence and realizes how rare it is. While the trio gathers in Basil’s studio, Lord Henry decides to capture his opportunity and fill Dorian’s good virtue with his cynicism.
Lord Henry claims: “When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will discover that there are no triumphs left for you…” (pg. 24). This quote suggests that youth is all there is to live for and Dorian takes Lord Henry’s views into deep consideration. In fact, he is awestruck by his newfound knowledge. Lord Henry has succeeded in controlling Dorian’s thoughts in a very compressed amount of time. Dorian’s anxiety grows as he contemplates this message and changes his life forever by translating his evolving wickedness into the painting.
Throughout the novel, the reader notices Dorian’s growing enthrallment with his decomposing portrait. Dorian’s obsession becomes quite clear as he discovers life’s indulgences. He learns of new pleasures every day and partakes in them for the sole purpose of feeding his fixation of the portrait. “He grew more and more enamored of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul.” (pg. 122). Dorian was conscience of his wrongdoings, but exercised them for the fascination he felt for the painting. Surely, at some point in one’s life, one experiences the same fascination that enamors Dorian. When one succumbs to this emotion, there is nothing that can distract from this object; it lures and traps, making the moment dominate the mind. Dorian experiences this every day and is engulfed...