Essay on the Gay as a Literary Figure in The Picture of Dorian Gray
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The Gay as a Literary Figure in The Picture of Dorian Gray
This paper shall explore the gay as a literary figure based on Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. The aim of the essay is threefold. Firstly, to show how the gay is related to two of the most potent archetypal images: those of Dionysos and Apollo. Secondly, to demonstrate that the Wildean gay is profoundly afraid of life, and that his interest in form and aesthetic proportion rests on a principle of "evasion." Thirdly, to contend that the humor in this novel, and by extension also in Wilde's plays, is a symptom of the author's fascination with an archetypal "gay."
The Picture of Dorian Gray revolves around Dorian's dual nature. On the one hand, he is the young hero whose adventures the novel records; on the other, he is a painted image of "extraordinary personal beauty." When Lord Henry tells him that his exceptional looks will not last, the young man prays that he be allowed to remain as he is in Basil's portrait of him. Dorian wants to enjoy his youth for ever. His "mad wish" is a key to the archetypal factors which...
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... intoxication and Apollonian form; of Dionysian involvement and Apollonian unapproachability. He is able to enjoy the Dionysian pleasures to which he wants to abandon himself, but at an Apollonian distance. Works Cited
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ed. Isobel Murray. London: Oxford University Press, 1974.
Wilde, Oscar. The Letters of Oscar Wilde. Ed. R. Hart-Davis. London: Hart-Davis, 1962.
Jung, C.G. The Collected Works. Ed. Sir Herbert Read etc. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953-1976. Vol. 9.ii; par. 73. Also CW 11.283.