Influence of Setting on Theme in The Picture of Dorian Gray

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In 1890, Oscar Wilde published his only novel that would have a hostile reaction in the British press due to its controversial themes. With tinges of "immoral topics" such as homoeroticism, hedonism, and aestheticism, the novel turned heads and shocked readers. This novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, revealed Wilde's philosophy on these topics through the use of writer's style, narrative strategy, development of character, and setting. Oscar Wilde used the controversial topics that he was surrounded by during his life, such as homoeroticism and hedonism, as many of the the main themes in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.
One of the main controversial ideas in The Picture of Dorian Gray is its homoerotic nature, which shocked readers. Although Wilde never comes out and says it, the relationship between Dorian and Basil, or Dorian and Lord Henry, is clearly something of more than just friendship. They seem to have an obsession with his beauty, and the language used to describe their admiration of Dorian is undoubtedly romantic and intimate. "I couldn't be happy if I didn't see him every day. He is absolutely necessary to me," says Basil when speaking of Dorian. Basil expresses his love for Dorian in his painting, and says he can't display his portrait of Dorian in fear that people will see his "idolatry." The novel is set in the time and place in which Wilde lived, in the 1890's in London, in which this topic was coming to the forefront. In 1885, 5 years before the novel was published, the Labouchere amendment was passed. This prohibited not only sodomy, which was punishable by death, but other "gross indecencies," which carried a 2 year prison term, and which Oscar Wilde was found guilty of. The homoerotic nature of the nov...

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...c attitude, as being a pleasure-seeker with no care for morality, as well as a man who is easily influenced by others leads him down a terrible path. The development of Dorian Gray goes along with yet another theme, which is the negative consequences of influence.
Therefore, development of character, setting, writer's style, and narrative strategy all contribute to the main themes in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Although these themes, such as homoeroticism and hedonism, may have been quite controversial, they now make up a novel that is a classic. Although the obsession with looks in this novel may seem ridiculous, it is not unlike the world today, with a million dollar industry devoted to allowing people to avoid fading youth and beauty. Even though Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray was written over a century ago, its themes are still relevant today.
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