The Aesthetic literary movement is a nineteenth century movement that appeared in France and England. The French term "fin de siècle," or the "end of the century," is often linked to the Aesthetic movement; it refers to the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. The movement appeared at a time where the ideals of the Victorian Age were not a priority anymore as it got replaced by Aesthetic values. “The main characteristics of the movement were: suggestion rather than statement, sensuality, massive use of symbols, and synaesthetic effects—that is, correspondence between words, colours and music. It was the music that set the mood.” This essay focuses on the massive use of symbols in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Basil Hallward’s portrait of Dorian Gray was a regular portray until Dorian has recognized how his beauty will fade unlike the beauty in the picture so he said: “If it was I who were to be always young, and the picture that were to grow old! For this—for this—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give!” little did he know that his wish would be fulfilled the moment he uttered it. The portrait becomes a mirror to what is inside Dorian Grey’s. His deeds, thoughts and of course the effect of time on his beauty are reflected upon the painting, leaving him flawless. The portrait is a symbol of his conscience, every crime he commits; he can see its effect on the painting. It is a vivid view of Gray’s inner self. Although his corruption did not leave its trace on him and left it on the canvas instead, the portrait reminds him of his cruel actions which eventually led to his own death as he ripped the portrait apart, thinking it was the only way to redeem himself.
The colour white in the novel is mentioned regularly. Dorian Grey was described with it at the very beginning “You, Mr. Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood” The white colour is a symbol of innocence. At the beginning of the novel, Dorian was the epitome of innocence and that was what lord Henry had found interesting in him, beside his good looks, of course. The white colour is a scale of Gry’s innocence throughout the play. When Dorian revealed his secret to basille, Bassile reaction was quoting the bible where he said: “It is never too late, Dorian. Let us kneel down and try
if we can remember a prayer. Isn’t there a verse somewhere, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, yet I will make them as white as snow’?” The more sins Dorian Grey commits, the more the white fades. When he ordered his servant to go out and bring flowers in order to make the servant leave while Campbell is getting rid of Basille’s corpse he says: “tell him to send twice as many orchids as I ordered, and to have as few white ones as possible. In fact, I don’t want any white ones.” Here it is very clear how the white does not represent Dorian Gray anymore at this point of the novel. Another mentioning of white that assures that it’s a...