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The Monster Dorian Gray Essay

2365 words - 9 pages

In the Victorian era where vanity was the main attraction, Oscar Wilde’s
The Picture of Dorian Gray gave insight into the true horrors that came of
this sinful nature. Wilde was a very controversial figure and he meant to
stir the pot when he wrote this disputed story. He believed that literature
was not only meant for the imagination, but for the moral mind as well. In
The Picture of Dorian Gray he depicts the importance of becoming a well
rounded individual and also explains himself. In one of his many letters he
states “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world
thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be- in other ages, perhaps.” He was
a man before his time and he exposed the reality that every person is a
sinner, including himself. Wilde used the world around him to portrait the
distorted view of the Victorian era he had come to know. (Shuman 1-2)

This wonderful story takes place in the glorious setting of London,
England, where we are introduced immediately to Basil Hallward and Dorian
Gray. Basil, an amateur artist, is stunned by Dorian’s appearance and is
compelled to paint him; he continually attempts to protect him from the
dangers of negative influences such as Lord Henry Wotton. Although, Basil
and Lord Henry are a choice pair of friends, Basil refuses to allow him
meet Dorian. As luck would have it, Lord Henry first meets Dorian while
he’s eloquently playing the piano and is immediately intrigued by his
youthful innocence. Dorian, being the naive young man he is, listens to all
of Lord Henry’s “quality” advice and from there on in he starts to
transform.

Dorian Gray had only returned to London because of the death of his uncle,
Lord Kelso, who left him all his affluence. He did not know much about his
uncle, or rather there wasn’t much he wanted to remember. In the mists of
this awkward situation, Basil became so entranced by his beauty he began to
paint a portrait of him. In the portrait laid everything anyone would've
wanted to be, but of course, with time, that would all begin fade away.
Lord Henry is extremely obsessed with youth and instills the idea that
Dorian’s portrait will stay young forever, while he sadly would wither as
time passed. Lord Henry makes this very clear when he states “There is no
doubt that Genius last longer than Beauty.” Even Basil himself acknowledges
this in the presence of Lord Henry, “We shall all suffer for what the gods
have given us, suffer terribly.” These heavyhearted comments lead Dorian to
make a pledge, which would ruin him. (Wilde 7-15)

After listening to Lord Henry’s discourse Dorian begins to think about his
beauty and he makes a frighteningly rash wish, which changed everything.
How sad is it! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this
picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this
particular day of June. . . . If it were only the other way! If it were I
who was to be always young, and the...

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