The Relationship Between Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward And Lord Henry Wotton

1961 words - 8 pages

Set in the late 19th Century, Oscar Wilde wrote his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is a story about debauchery and corruption of innocence and well known as a "Gothic melodrama." Violent twists and a sneaky plot make this novel a distinct reflection of human pride and corrupt nature.

Before we examine the quality of the error that Dorian Gray commits, we should first examine his friends and their relation to him because Dorian falls into this error with a little help from his friends.

1. The relationship between Dorian Gray and Basil Hallward

Though Wilde wrote in the preface to this book that " To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim", we can still trace the shadow of the author himself in all of the three major characters.

Basil Hallward, the artist who had painted the picture of Dorian Gray, probably has a homosexual attachment to the young Dorian. And as a homosexual himself (or to be exact, bisexual, because he also loved his wife and two sons), Wilde here might be commenting on the enforced secret homosexuals' lives in the late nineteenth century.

Seemingly striving after impersonality and aesthetic perfection in his work, Basil feels the greatest anxiety of having put "too much of himself" into his picture of Dorian (Chapter 1, page 20) that he can't exhibit it. To display his work of art in public would, in a sense, amount to exposure of Basil's attraction to Dorian Gray. This is one reason, and another reason is that he may fear that more people will see and get attracted by Dorian Gray. He admits to Lord Henry that "he is much more to me(Basil) than a model or a sitter."In his deep consciousness, he is quite possessive and self-contemptuous. He refused to introduce Dorian Gray to Lord Henry because on one hand, he knew the latter influence "would be bad" (Chapter 1, page 31), but on the other hand, he is quite aware of his plainness in appearance and not as attractive as Lord Henry in personality. He fears that Dorian would get fanatic with Lord Henry and leave him.

Basil struggles hard to maintain his intimate relationship with Dorian Gray all his life. He claims he loves Dorian's "spirit" but in fact that spirit is visually symbolized by his body. If he really cherishes that purity, he won't "flatter him(Dorian Gray) dreadfully" and "find a strange pleasure in saying things to him that I (Basil) know I shall be sorry for having said"(Chapter 1, page 29). Actually, his obsession and idolatry prepare Dorian to appreciate his extreme beauty and is trying every means to please Dorian. And after the death of Sibyl Vane, Basil has seen the corruption of Dorian's soul, he should help Dorian, but on the contrast, he felt "strangely moved", "he could not bear the idea of reproaching him any more", "there was so much in him (Dorian Gray) that was good, so much in him that was noble." (Chapter 9, page 124). How can one who is indifferent to his fiancée's death be good and noble? Basil should...

Find Another Essay On The Relationship between Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

1685 words - 7 pages # #Ashley Harris Ms. Wojcok December 10, 2001 The Picture of Dorian Gray In

Corruption and Consequences in The Picture of Dorian Gray

1642 words - 7 pages       According to the nurture theory of the evolution of human behavior, when a child is first brought into the world it has no basis or idea of how to perceive things. The child is pure and innocent. It is naive to its surroundings, depending on the guidance of those around it to show it the way. When a child is born, most are accompanied by loving nurses, doctors, and parents. The moment this child encounters these other beings, the...

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Morality and Immortality

874 words - 3 pages Oscar Wilde, the author of "The Picture of Dorian Gray", makes Basil's life change...

Victorian England and The Picture of Dorian Gray

2075 words - 8 pages Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is just the sort of book that made Victorian England shiver. This decadent masterpiece is anything but a vehicle for the propagation of middle-class morality. We have in Wilde the ultimate aesthete, a disciple of Walter Pater, a dandy who in his personal life seems to have lived out Pater's quiet injunction to "burn with that hard, gemlike flame" in experiencing art and, no doubt, other things. How could...

The Moral and Ethics of The Picture of Dorian Gray

797 words - 3 pages During the Victorian era the views of society were somewhat strict. Since it was the romantic period there was a sense of independence when it came to their personal views. But if anything was too exorbitant, it was either ignored or “socially” punished. To one’s surprise you may find that the morals and ethics presented in this book are not what you may expect at first. When morals and ethics are largely exhibited in a book it is usually to...

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

1722 words - 7 pages Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray      The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde. The genre of this novel can be classified as a comedy of manners or a gothic novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Another version with an additional six chapters was published in 1891. One of the major themes in the novel was the Supremacy of Beauty and Youth. A very attractive man has...

Character Analysis: The Picture of Dorian Gray

669 words - 3 pages Dorian Gray ---- A young man that comes from a broken family, and a life of pain. He and

Inner and outer beauty in Dorian Gray

1488 words - 6 pages The term ‘beauty’ may have very relative significance. Something can be beautiful for us, but ugly for other people. The external beauty of a person is often the first thing that we pay attention to. This is the result of the association of beauty with good and ugliness with evil. Through the outer appearance we make a general opinion about a given person. Such a way of thinking may be very misleading. In order to get to know the person we need...

Influences of and on Dorian Gray

911 words - 4 pages In Oscar Wilde's "A Picture of Dorian Gray", Lord Henry is introduced to both Dorian...

Beauty in The Picture of Dorian Gray

1406 words - 6 pages In Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, beauty is depicted as the driving force in the lives of the three main characters, Dorian, Basil and Lord Henry. Dorian, the main character, believes in seizing the day. "Dorian is described as an addict, having mad hungers that grew more ravenous as he fed them." Basil, the artist, admires all that is beautiful in life. Lord Henry, accredited one's physical appearance to the ability of...

The (Shallow) Picture of Dorian Gray

1210 words - 5 pages Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray presents a keen question on morality: can one cleanse the senses by the means of the soul, and the soul by the means of the senses? Dorian Gray lives out this epigram of Lord Henry’s in an attempt to justify a life of hedonism and over-objectification of beauty. Wilde introduces Dorian as a young man whose beauty rivals the “invention of the oil painting” itself (Wilde 7). Basil Hallward, the painter,...

Similar Essays

The Influence Of Lord Henry In The Picture Of Dorian Gray, By Oscar Wilde

2467 words - 10 pages In analyzing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, concepts such as influence and the origin of evil in Dorian Gray play an exceptionally valuable role in understanding the motives of the characters. Although some critics argue characters such as Lord Kelso significantly influence Dorian’s corruption, Lord Henry Wotton’s toxic personality undeniably impacts Dorian the most. Throughout the course of the novel, Lord Henry remains the ultimate...

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 ...

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

512 words - 2 pages In the book "The picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde I believe that the character Lord Henry Wotton had a dramatic influence over the events in the life of main character, Dorian Gray. When this book was first published it was received with public outrage and resulted in the downfall of Wilde but it has now become one of his most celebrated works. The opening paragraph of the book introduces us to two of the pivotal characters of...

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

1686 words - 7 pages Many people influence our lives, shaping the way we act, talk, and even think. People can affect others in many positive ways; however, they can also corrupt the people around them. In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry influences Dorian Gray to the point where Dorian loses all respect, dignity, and integrity that he had and eventually leads him to experience his downfall. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago clearly feels no...