“Impulsive, Immature But Ultimately Innocent” (Blair) How Far Do You Agree With This Crucial Opinion Of The Character Of Dorian In The Picture Of Dorian Gray?

1183 words - 5 pages

Laura Day 20/04/2013"Impulsive, immature but ultimately innocent" (Blair)How far do you agree with this crucial opinion of the character of Dorian in The Picture of Dorian Gray?Whilst these three traits that have been attributed to the character Dorian Gray, of course, intertwine with one another, I think it is important to analyse them individually.It would make perfect sense that Dorian Gray should be impulsive, as we are informed in Chapter 3 that his mother was a woman of passion and impulse, eloping with a man who did not fall into her social class, an act unheard of in the Victorian era; it is evident that an impulsive nature is in Dorian Gray's blood. In the novel we see that Dorian's life comes to be driven by the pursuit of pleasure but that he often falls victim to his impulses. In Chapter 2 Dorian sells his soul to the devil in return for eternal youth and beauty on a sudden whim that ultimately determines his fate. His impulses and desires are created by the serpentine figure Lord Henry who feeds Dorian's unwary and often impressionable personality with temptations of sin.Lord Henry encourages Dorian to live on the surface of life; he teaches him that one should suck all of the pleasures out of life and not be weighed down by thoughts of consequence and emotion.I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them…and dominate them.As I see it, to be impulsive means to be emotional but unable to control one's emotions. Therefore I find it ironic that Dorian says that he wants to be free from the constraints of emotion, when he demonstrates unmistakeably that he is 'at [their] mercy'. For example, he stabs Basil Hallward, the painter who adored him idolatrously, having been overcome by an intense feeing of hatred;He loathed the man who was seated at the table, more than in his whole life he had ever loathed anything.Whilst many argue that Basil died as the result of a momentary impulse, others debate the idea that Dorian premeditated, albeit haphazardly, the murder- that Dorian knew that Basil was going to die as soon as he decided that he would reveal the portrait to him. If the latter theory be true then Dorian Gray would perhaps be better described as a calculative individual than one who acts on his immediate passions. Dorian is also 'dominated' by the feeling of, the emotion, paranoia- but for a lifetime rather than for a mere moment. He is paranoid lest the dark secret of his soul shown in the portrait should be discovered, 'lest other eyes should look upon it'.Dorian Gray is described in the title quotation as 'immature' and I agree entirely with this view; Dorian is undoubtedly childish in his behaviour. A common synonym of 'immature' is 'self-indulgent', and one of 'self-indulgent' is 'hedonistic'; therefore it is fair to claim that Dorian's pleasure seeking ways are nothing but immature, just a way of evading the accountabilities of adult life. For example, after the murder of Basil, rather than repent and...

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