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Dorian's Transformation In Oscar Wilde's In The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1001 words - 5 pages

In society, there has constantly been the question as to whether people can change or not. Author Oscar Wilde proves in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, that one can. The question he poses to his readers is “What kind of transformation is shown by the protagonist Dorian Gray: good or bad?” It is possible to think that Dorian Gray has become a better person, not for others, but for himself since he lives in the pursuit of pleasure and always achieves it. However, as it is demonstrated by the portrait, the damnation of the lives of others can provoke damage to one’s conscience and soul. Dorian’s soul is ruined gradually by his hedonistic adventures, eventually failing to redeem his ...view middle of the document...

..why, you must be worse even than those who talk against you fancy you to be!” (148). Dorian kills Basil out of anger for the reminder that although Dorian is still handsome and youthful on the outside, he is disgusting and horridly evil on the inside.
After Basil’s murder, Dorian becomes very paranoid and out of character. He is so unlike himself that even Lord Henry notices: “Something has happened to you, Dorian, Tell me what it is. You are not yourself tonight” (172). Dorian becomes very jittery and unsettled; he often thinks he sees James Vane, Sibyl’s brother, stalking Dorian to seek revenge. One time when he sees James, he faints: “And with fear in his eyes Lord Henry rushed through the flapping pals, to find Dorian Gray lying face downwards on the tiled floor in a deathlike swoon” (187). Dorian veers away from his life of pleasure when he is constantly reminded of the evil deeds he commits; he feels pain, responsibility and guilt, the three worst things a hedonist can feel. To renew his satisfaction, Dorian pursues opium, a drug that can help him reach a calm and happy place: “He [Dorian] heaved a deep breath [of opium] and his nostrils quivered with pleasure” (186-187). However, opium cannot cure all of his problems, it can only mask and delay the outcomes. Taking this drug only seals Dorian’s fate to never come back from the decadent lifestyle he leads.
As his self-destruction becomes worse, Dorian begins to seek redemption. However, this only proves further that Dorian is damaged beyond repair and there is not a return from his hedonistic world. Dorian begins his attempt at atonement by trying to spare the heart of a young village girl who loves him dearly. He acts this way without any regard to how she could actually react because she could...

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