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The Influences Of Oscar Wilde The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1591 words - 6 pages

The Influences of Oscar WildeThroughout his life Oscar Wilde had many strong influences exerted upon him. During his early childhood his mother influenced him and into college some of his professors and certain philosophers left a substantial impression upon him. Into adulthood these influences leaked out in his writing. These influences gave him ample ideas for writing The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde's study of the Hellenistic ideals of Epicurus, his coddled lifestyle as a child and his devotion to the movement of Aesthetics and Moral Ambiguity have produced one of the most astounding works of horror fiction.Oscar Wilde' more effeminate attitude toward life and the way he looked at beauty can be attributed to his mother, Speranza. "It was said that Speranza (Wilde's mother) had hoped for a daughter. This may well be true, as she had already had one son. It is said that Speranza dressed Oscar in girls clothes. This is true in a way: all middle-class Victorian boys were dressed in petticoats during their infancy"(Fido 16). From these statements one may think that it was Wildes Mother who drew out his homosexuality. She very well may have, but she also taught him grace and gave to him a love of beauty most men never seem to appreciate. In treating Oscar as a daughter for the first few years of his life, Speranza set off a chain of events that would spawn a victory and a tragedy. She set into motion a philosophical and analytical mind. A mind which would shy away from the mainstream and create for itself a genius of its own. " Speranza encouraged her son to value the highly artificial novels of Bulwer-Lytton and Disraeli above plainer and greater work of Victorian Fiction. Her uncle Charles Robert Maturin's Gothic romance 'Melmoth the Wanderer was a book that mother and son both held to be one of the major works of the early nineteenth century"(Fido 18.)This same story "Melmoth the Wanderer" has many similarities to the more recent Picture of Dorian Gray. This presents the evidence that Wilde was greatly influenced by his great-uncle Charles Robert Maturin. "There is also in 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' distinct evidence of direct borrowing from 'Melmoth'. In the opening chapter of Maturin's novel, when Melmoth, the young student, comes to his miserly uncle's deathbed, he is sent to fetch some wine from a closet 'which no foot but that of old Melmoth had entered in nearly sixty years.' There, amidst 'a great deal of decayed and useless lumber' such as that which later furnished the locked and abandoned school room where Dorian Gray concealed his compromising portrait, young Melmoth's eyes were 'in a moment, and as if by magic, riveted on a portrait' whose eyes 'were such as one feels they wish they had never seen, and feels they can never forget'"(Roditi, 48). From the painting to the settings is clear that Oscar Wilde's family was a crucial influence in the literary portion of his life, but it was not just Wildes family that gave him his...

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