Homosexuality in Wilde's Picture of Dorian Grey

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A critical analysis of Oscar Wildes only novel would yield that it is in fact a homosexual allegory of doomed, forbidden passion. The relationship between Lord Henry and Dorian, as well as Basil and Dorian is, clearly Homoerotic and must’ve shocked Victorian society. Although Wilde halts short of stating that Basil and Lord Henry have sexual feelings for Dorian , the language he uses to describe their devotion for Dorian is unmistakably the language of deep, romantic intimacy. “Tell me more about Mr. Dorian Gray. How often do you see him?”. “Every day. I couldn’t be happy if I didn’t see him everyday. He is absolutely necessary to me”. This common motif of homoerotic bonds between men plays a large role in structuring the novel. Basils painting is born from his adoration of Dorians beauty , comparatively Lord Henry is overcome with desire to seduce Dorian. This sense of camaraderie between men fits into Wildes aesthetic values, for it returns him to his past where the philosophy of beauty was not only the basis of society but fundamental to culture. As a homosexual living in an intolerant society, Wilde asserted this philosophy in order to justify his own lifestyle. It’s quite obvious that men have do have relationships with women in the novel- Dorian falls in love with sibyl and Lord Henry himself is married, but these heterosexual relationships are short lived. Victoria Wotton like most of the women in the novel is depicted with no real depth, she is briefly introduced, never to be heard from again. Made clear in Lord Henrys observation of sibyl, “women are a decorative sex” , her character is of little substance also, as it becomes clear in the subsequent chapters when she so easily gives up her greatest talent in order to pursue a relationship with Dorian.

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