Essay on `` Au Lecteur `` By Charles Baudelaire And The Picture Of Dorian Gray

Essay on `` Au Lecteur `` By Charles Baudelaire And The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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Oftentimes in life, it seems easier to comply in nefarious acts than to uphold honorable standards. In “Au Lecteur” by Charles Baudelaire and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the authors both convey their disappointment in humanity. By employing the themes of impulse, boredom, and hypocrisy during the Victorian era both Wilde and Baudelaire argue that a yearning desire for wickedness lies in all human beings and once evil becomes habit the only escape from consequence is death.
Through the incorporation of symbolism, Baudelaire and Wilde both echo how sin innately drives human impulse. In “Au Lecteur” the author proclaims “There is one more ugly, more wicked, more filthy!... He would willingly make of the earth a shambles And, in a yawn, swallow the world; He is Ennui!” The symbolism of “Ennui” consuming the world is utilized to show that many of our temptations come from the feelings of boredom. Baudelaire states that if people have not found “rape, poison, daggers, [and/or] arson” to fill their empty lives, it is simply because they are too afraid of consequences. Often times people can become consumed by their built up dissatisfaction with life leading them to crave desires, such as drugs or violence, that can only momentarily feed their senses. Therefore, it makes sense that Baudelaire would describe boredom as a persona , stating that he is the ugliness inside of all of us that is fully capable of bringing the earth to a corrupt state. Wilde also proves this point through the symbol of an opium den. Wilde describes, “There were opium-dens, where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new” (183). Since Dorian lacks a change in appearan...


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...nd desire for pleasure consumes and destroys him. This shows that even when a society tries to ignore evil and be pure, a lack of morality nevertheless overpowers humans from within.
By utilizing the hypocrisy, boredom, and natural desire for sin, Baudelaire and Wilde both illustrate an incredibly dismal view on human nature. However, the authors bring attention to the need to be aware of one 's own sinful desires. As the Victorian era showed, no human being is capable of being perfect. Instead of pretending that humans are flawless, maybe people should embrace the fact that they are not. Perhaps, if Dorian had taken a step back to realize he was falling under sin 's influence at the beginning instead of pretending it was not there, he could have worked to do moral acts to fill his boredom and not be solely pulled by the “Devil’s strings” as described by Baudelaire.

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