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Dorian’s Inner Id In The Picture Of Dorian Gray

2434 words - 10 pages

“He himself could not help wondering at the calm of his demeanor, and for a moment felt keenly the terrible pleasure of a double life.” (pg 174) And thus is Dorian Gray – a man behind a beautiful mask – a man behind a lie. Readers follow Dorian over an eighteen year span of his life learning about the sins that he indulges in. Yet does the reader have the power to judge Dorian and Dorian alone? Or is Dorian merely a prisoner – trapped in his own mind? Possibly suffering from a bout of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, Dorian Gray commits acts of unspeakable means (after all Oscar Wilde never defined them) over the course of his short life. So when it comes down to it… what is the cause of ...view middle of the document...

Religion was a very large part of Victorian society. Regardless of the romanticism, realism, aestheticism, and classicism that lurked within society, the possession of solid and pure morals was at the heart of Victorian culture. Dorian Gray’s sudden mood swings and evil motives would have been attributed to demonic possession. Within the novel lies a very Gothic element of twisted magic: Dorian sold his soul for beauty and his portrait ages with his sin. Evil was a topic taken very seriously as it endangered the good nature found innate within all people. Victorians strove to lead moral and good lives, making wickedness a target enemy. Dorian seems to lapse into moments of evil when he lacks emotional response or takes the lives of those around him – whether with intention or not. His behavior would have been easily accredited to submission to iniquity, yet modern analysis realizes that humans are not capable of predestination in terms of personality and action.
Dorian Gray can be diagnosed as having Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. According to the DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Schizophrenia is defined by features that are both negative and positive and last longer than six months. Positive features, or the presence of outwardly manifested symptoms, include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and catatonic behavior. Dorian Gray on the other hand displays negative symptoms. Negative features, or the seeming absence of symptoms, can be exemplified by “restrictions in the range and intensity of emotional expression, in the fluency and productivity of thought and speech, and in the initiation of goal-directed behavior”. After Harry has revealed to Dorian that Sybil Vane (the supposed love of Dorian’s life) has killed herself, Dorian’s reaction jolts the readers’ morals. Upon hearing about his dear late Ophelia, Dorian Gray says the unthinkable: “’So I have murdered Sybil Vane, murdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden.’” (pg 99) This statement from Dorian is a clear expression of affective flattening, or reduction in emotional response. Even though Lord Henry had attempts to calm Dorian’s nerves by appealing to the art and beauty of tragedy, Dorian seems to completely implode his responsiveness. A woman killed herself due to Dorian’s shallow love of acting and yet he is content to call the event overly dramatic and attend dinner and an opera that very same night. He distances himself from the tragedy as if it were a book he had read or a play he had viewed. Thus begins Dorian’s separation from reality.
Soon after, Lord Henry Wotton gives Dorian a yellow book about a Parisian man struggling through life. Dorian finds himself in the book, placing himself in the shoes of the main character he felt the words warm his veins each time he glanced over the prose. His...

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