Romanticism is basically the concentration on emotion, nature, and emotional expression in an imaginative form. There is a heightened interest in nature and an emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion as well as their individualism. People were given freedom in most aspects of their life and they revolted against social and political norms while choosing imagination over reason. In the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” different elements of romanticism were used to further explore the theme of Art, Love and Self Obsession, all which are very evident throughout the text. Romanticism, otherwise known as being melodramatic, proved to be very useful during Dorian’s selfish pursuits towards finding pleasure and the obsession that most, if not all, the characters in the book seemed to have with Dorian’s undying youth and beauty. Romanticism also played a significant role when Dorian fell in and out of ...view middle of the document...
The two main factors and components of Dorian’s life that, in a way, aided in his life becoming revolved around romanticism were: The yellow book and his portrait.
Firstly, the yellow book that was given to him by Lord Henry. The Parisian hero in the book, like Dorian, was once incredibly beautiful but then suddenly loses his beauty and ultimately has a very tragic death. This yellow book drives him to become fully obsessed with his portrait because of the fear that he might lose his youthful looks. The element of romanticism used, is the way Dorian expresses himself emotionally in an imaginative form through his obsession with the portrait. To distract himself from the fear of having the same fate as the Persian, and also distracts him from his marred portrait; he becomes a man with a desire to find new sensations and pleasures. The excessively detailed passages in Chapter 11 takes readers into the world that Dorian has created for himself, where passionate pursuits are now vain and filled with meaningless debauchery; such as perfumes, music and embroideries. The lifestyle that Dorian has created for himself greatly resembles the kind that the people of the romanticized era had as well. They would build a superficial and shallow bubble around their lives where they did not have to face their obvious troubles and dilemmas. This is exactly what Dorian is doing as he delves deeper into a life of Hedonism, pleasure and aesthetics to keep himself distracted from the tarnished image of his soul, which is visible through his portrait.
Another element of romanticism that Dorian used to distract himself from his corrupt soul was his transition from a naïve obedient boy, who always listened and obeyed whatever Lord Henry said; to a man (however much wicked and immoral), who embraced his individuality. Although he was still friends with Lord Henry and listened to him, it is quite evident that only he makes his decisions concerning his life.