Critical Analysis Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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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. However, due to Lord Henry’s reputation and vile persona, Basil had no interest in introducing his friend Dorian to Lord Henry.…show more content…
After viewing the portrait Basil painted of himself, the seed of vanity that Lord Henry planted in young Dorian’s heart grew and he wished to stay as beautiful and young as the picture forever. Eventually, in some magical and indescribable form, Dorian’s desire comes true and as the years go by he remains youthful and attractive. In spite of this, through the course of his life, the evil deeds that Dorian commits and the wickedness of his soul is reflected through the picture. The portrait mocks him and it is a constant reminder of the evil hidden beneath his gorgeous looks. In terms of life and death, Dorian has this narcissism towards mortality. In a way he views casualties as irrelevant and unfortunate circumstances. In “Oscar Wilde 's Aesthetic Gothic: Walter Pater, Dark Enlightenment, and The Picture of Dorian Gray,” John Paul Riquelme compares this conduct to that of the Greek mythological character Narcissus’s behavior. The story of Narcissus speaks of a hunter whose pride and narcissist attitude blinded him. Riquelme makes his point by saying the following: “As an avatar of Narcissus, Dorian Gray embodies both tendencies in a poisonous, self-negating confluence signifying madness” (610). In the end, Narcissus’s fate and fall is similar to that of Dorian Gray’s
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