In Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’, the portrait shapes Dorian’s life by manipulating his behavior and perceptions in a negative way. Throughout the novel Dorian aspires to be superior to the painting because of the many sins that are reflected through it. The portrait becomes more hideous because Dorian is extremely corrupted with looks and sex. Between Lord Henry and the painting Dorian truly becomes a monster. Dorian takes in the superficial ideas of life, hoping to reinvent himself, and become a completely different person. The portrait evolves Dorian into someone who is paranoid, corrupt, and eventually a murderer.
Dorian Gray’s true colors begin to show when he breaks Sibyl Vane’s heart. Dorian arrives home and sees that the painting is “watching him, with its beautiful marred face and its cruel smile” (Wilde 88). The portrait begins to change, “it’s gold [...] into grey” (Wilde 88), creating a sense of nostalgia inside Dorian. His paranoia begins to set in when Sibyl commits suicide. The veil of his cruelty is shown to him through his portrait. When Dorian confronts Lord Henry about Sibyl’s death we begin to see the cracks in his facade. Dorian constantly asks Lord Henry if it was he who had indirectly murdered Sibyl; he wanted to make sure that he held no blame. To erase the sense of paranoia Dorian convinces himself that he played no part in Sibyl’s death. Dorian then becomes nervous around the painting. He locks the painting away and forbids anyone to see it, even Basil. When Basil asks to see his own artwork Dorian tells him that “on [his] word of honor [he] will never speak to [Basil] again” if he looks at the painting (Wilde 107). This only adds to Dorian’s parano...
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...ponse to this expanding hatred; Dorian murders Basil. The portrait truly turns disgusting after Basil’s death. Another example of murder in Dorian’s life would be Sibyl Vane’s brother, James. Although James was not directly murdered by Dorian, his death was “another death to add to Dorian 's tally of life-wrecking disasters” (Shmoop Editorial Team). He indirectly murdered James, by angering the young man, when he mistreated Sibyl. Death and murder seem to follow Dorian everywhere, first Sibyl, then Basil, and now James, all dead after meeting Dorian.
Ultimately, the portrait gains complete control of Dorian’s life. Through paranoia, corruption, and murder Dorian is an entirely different person at the end of the novel. Dorian went from an innocent and naive young man to a sinful and malfeasance devil. The portrait portrays his sins and has him depicted as a monster.
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