Abstract Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

Abstract Aestheticism in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

Length: 2152 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

19th century England was entrenched in the idea that art could be used as not only a method of expression, but also one of social advancement. With this idea at its forefront, art suddenly inundated places where art was never previously found, such as social education and morality. In contrast, Oscar Wilde was a key advocate of an idea known aestheticism, a concept that relied on art simply being art. Oscar Wilde played a major role in Victorian England, having a major influence through his writing. At its peak "the movement had a disdain for any traditional, natural, political, or moral ideals; rather, the importance of nonconformist form and subject matter were fore grounded" (Majer). Wilde suggested that art should hold no purpose in society and merely exist for its beauty. He argued, as any aesthete would, that by giving art a value greater than its beauty, society is in turn ruining it. He also added that art must be looked at as a whole, and only those who can see the complete "picture" can truly understand the meaning behind art, while also seeing into the artist's soul. In the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde portrays aestheticism in many ways, mainly through art and the human soul. Wilde, comparable to a puppeteer, manipulates each character in order to ultimately depict the ideas behind aestheticism; he plays upon each characters eternal search for contentment, their connections with their inner souls, and their various ties with art. With each character's actions, Wilde reinforces the overarching theme upon the true purpose of art, but at the same time warns the reader against aestheticism in its purest form.
Each character in the novel searches for the elusive goal of happiness, but is never able to a...

... middle of paper ...

..., Sarah. "decadence." In Maunder, Andrew. Facts On File Companion to the British Short Story. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007.Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc.
Sanyal, Arundhati. "Taboo in The Picture of Dorian Gray." Quoted as "Taboo in The Picture of Dorian Gray" in Bloom, Harold, ed. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2010. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc.
Shuman, R. Baird. Magill’s Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition, January 2009, p1-2. (Work Analysis)
Wainwright, Michael, "Oscar Wilde, the Science of Heredity, and "The Picture of Dorian Gray.'" ()AUTHOR. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 2011, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p494-522, 29p. (Literary Criticism)
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. A Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde liked to be right. Wait—no, no, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. Oscar Wilde liked people to think he was right. He had the uncanny ability of saying something that sounded good and then doing the exact opposite. Some would call that hypocrisy, but the more popular term for it seems to be “genius” judging by his status as a renowned writer and still-popular celebrity. Genius or not, Wilde knew how to put together a sentence. His life was one for the books, and his book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one ripe for the analysis....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1988 words (5.7 pages)

The Nature Of Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- The Wilderness of Wilde Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray introduced cultural taboo, the means of art and beauty, and the internal pain of man into the literary world of the 19th century. Wilde himself went through these phases of life and wanted to push views of his reality onto his audience. He portrays several characters through the means of moral corruption over aestheticism while pushing his own controversial ideas and the limits of social normality, such as living indefinitely and homosexuality, over the audience of his era....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Aestheticism in The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

- Aestheticism was a popular dogma in the late 1800s that centered on the belief that art should exist for beauty alone. This doctrine is defined as an “exaggerated devotion to art, music, or poetry, with indifference to practical matters” and “the acceptance of artistic beauty and taste as a fundamental standard, ethical and other standards being secondary” (“Aestheticism,” def. 1 and 2). In Oscar Wilde’s sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, aestheticism is a fashionable belief accepted by society at the time....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Term Papers
2260 words (6.5 pages)

The Picture Of Dorian Gray : Aesthetics And Corruption Of The Pure Soul Essay example

- The Picture of Dorian Gray: Aesthetics’ Corruption of the Pure Soul Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” introduces the idea that aesthetics – the love and attraction to beauty- can taint the purest soul. The irony that this notion brings forth is evident in Wilde’s story of the young and beautiful Dorian Gray. The protagonist, Dorian Gray, is introduced to a life of luxury, egotistical ideals, and the ultimate appreciation of life and beauty with help from Lord Henry “Harry” Wotton. After witnessing Basil Hallward’s portrait painting of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry had the intense desire to meet the young man....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1171 words (3.3 pages)

Aestheticism in the Writing of Oscar Wilde Essay

- First published as pop-culture in Lippincott's Magazine, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray sparked immediate controversy with its Victorian critics (Introduction xvi-xviii). The Victorian Era, named so for the reign of British Queen Victoria, was tantamount to exacting moral principles – media, households and government were consumed by pious platitudes. During this time, anything suggestive of sex – literal or allegorical – was stringently suppressed; women were to be covered up to the chin, out to the hands, and down to the ankles, likewise, piano and table legs were covered to the floor....   [tags: Literary Themes]

Term Papers
1396 words (4 pages)

Essay on Frankenstein And The Picture Of Dorian Gray

- Monstrosity is not just defined by disfigurement, but also by the actions and obsessions of man. Most, if not all, tales of monsters often came about as exaggerations of sins and immoral actions. Others see men who become too obsessed with the idea of overstepping their own humanity and playing God as monsters in society. Frankenstein and The Picture of Dorian Gray reflect this idea. While the painting and the creation mirror the monstrous nature and the sin Gray and Frankenstein enact throughout the course of each novel, both Dorian Gray and Victor Frankenstein are the true monsters....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1198 words (3.4 pages)

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is the life of a wealthy, beautiful young man after selling his heart to the devil. The story begins in the late 19th century London in a luxurious painter’s studio where the readers are introduced to Basil Hallward and his dear friend, Lord Henry Wotton. The two characters, Basil and Lord Henry, discussed the portrait of a golden-haired young man that Basil was painting. Lord Henry Wotton was astonished by the sight of the magnificent painting. He believed that the painting was Basil’s finest work....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1983 words (5.7 pages)

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray to me emphasis the corruption that comes from obsessing about aesthetics and the idea that looks are the only things that matter. In this modern era novel Basil Hallward is a benevolent artist who paints a portrait of the young attractive man named Dorian Gray. After speaking with Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian makes a wish while looking at his painting and it would be this wish that turned into a curse that ruined Dorian for Basil and ruined the world itself for Dorian....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1188 words (3.4 pages)

Oscar Wilde Art Essay

- Oscar Wilde Art We begin another chapter in the life of Oscar Wilde, the year 1888, many things have taken place, Oscar has been married and bore two children, Vyvyan and Cyril and his touring of the United States and other countries have brought forth success to the literary giant. Some of his successful writings are "The Picture of Dorian Gray"(1891), "A Woman of No Importance"(1894) and his most resent essay known "The Decay of Lying". Is it true that lying has fallen to its deepest shadow of shame....   [tags: Oscar Wilde Writer Papers]

Term Papers
1491 words (4.3 pages)

A Critique of the Ending of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

- A Critique of the Ending of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray Truly, suspense is a positive attribute – up to a certain point. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray ends with too many loose ends. What did Alan Campbell do to Dorian that was “stern, harsh, offensive”(Wilde 125). It appears that whatever Campbell did was quite serious: when Dorian threatens to send a letter to someone regarding Campbell’s past misconduct, Campbell agrees to get rid of Basil’s corpse, which is a serious crime in itself....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray]

Free Essays
938 words (2.7 pages)