Analysis Of Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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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. In Wilde’s era he created literature that corrupted the audiences ideas of purity. In the beginning of the novel, Basil Howland, the artist of a controversial painting, is particularly proud of his new muse…show more content…
In the 19th century, the taboo was all about speaking of ridiculously imaginative things such as living indefinitely or homosexuality, “but his story is also a vivid, though carefully considered, exposure of the corruption of a soul, with a very plain moral, pushed home, to the effect that vice and crime make people coarse and ugly” (Pater). Wilde expresses his ideas through this passage particularly because Basil gushes over Dorian and his beauty in the scene before he reveals the painting to Lord Henry. Many researchers suggest Wilde pushes his ideals over an audience who was not ready for these types of notions suggesting that “The Picture of Dorian Gray is not a novel for the optimist” (Aubrey). The novel is composed of several detrimental qualities to the characters. For instance, Lord Henry’s use of psychological games to manipulate Dorian’s thoughts and actions verifies that there is no hope to be had for the outcome of the novel. Oscar Wilde’s purpose of writing the book was to put aside social normality of the time and push the limits of “sanity”. His book does not hold proper etiquette in the sense that it does not provide the reader with the cushion of hope for a better future for the characters. Instead, Wilde reveals…show more content…
To illustrate this, Aubrey suggests that “To remain a spectator of life and at the same time to fulfill every desire of one 's sensual nature is a paradox; it suggests the co-existence of opposite values. It is the art of feeling life without feeling it, the art of touching whilst remaining untouched. Paradoxes such as these lead often to the sphere of mysticism” (Aubrey). The paradox between art and life is portrayed through sensory images throughout the novel, particularly in the beginning when introduced to Basil’s study where he paints Dorian and other subjects. The pampered style of home Basil Howland lives in illustrates the specific way of living of which Basil and his companions are accustomed. Understanding the means of living is important to the moral corruption that takes place through out the novel: “If it was only the other way! If it was I who were to be always young, and the picture that were to grow old" (Wilde 205). The corruption that takes place here is substantiated by Lord Henry’s psychological games he plays with Dorian. While Dorian is still youthful and innocent Henry imposes the idea of remaining with his aesthetic beauty his whole life instead of aging as God intended. Corruption oozes through Henry’s words as they influence Dorian’s young mind and transform him into and egotistical, numb character. Though embracing
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