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The Picture Of Dorian Gray: Use Of Mirrors

648 words - 3 pages

In the controversial novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," the only published novel written by Oscar Wilde, the protagonist Dorian Gray begins to indulge the idea of hedonism from fellow friend Lord Henry. Dorian adores his beauty so much that he wishes the painting Basil Hallward is painting of him to grow old in his place. As a matter a fact, the portrait does age with every sin Dorian commits, and Dorian's outward appearance remains unchanged. The portrait is a reflection of dirty deeds done by Dorian, acting as a type of 'mirror.' Mirrors play a huge role throughout the novel, as they help establish the theme of hedonism and signify how art is in the eye of the beholder.When Oscar Wilde published this novel, he faced many criticisms of homoerotic tones in the novel. Facing such adversity, he added the preface to address the criticism and assert the reputation of the novel. The preface states that "it is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors." (3) In other words, art is in the eye of the beholder, and this reflects what the spectator sees as to the potent of the feeling they get which in turn reflects one's personality. Art is reflected by the one viewing the art, and their interpretation of it mirrors what they believe the art is supposed to represent. A spectator such as Dorian Gray finding out the meaning of his portrait is an example of this.On page 78, after rejecting his love Sibyl Vane due to poor acting, Dorian views the painting of himself. He notices the painting is somewhat different than before as it now bears a subtle smear "The quivering, ardent sunlight showed him the lines of cruelty round the mouth as clearly as if he had been looking into a mirror after he had done some dreadful thing." (78) His wish has come true, as the portrait will age with each sin Dorian...

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