The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and a Selection of Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

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In this essay the representation of the city will be explored in the writing style of the Fin de siècle. This essay will investigate The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde and a selection of Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Both books represent the city differently in some aspects, and in others, share similarities. Point one: dirty Dorian Gray is set in the late 19th century, in the middle of the decadent artistic movement, meaning Dorian would have been a fictitious contemporary of Wilde. Although the Victorian period was plagued with conservative views , Wilde has used Dorian to express the double standards those of the city’s elite indulge. Dorian sees between both ends of the social scales. But despite Dorian disapproving/disgusted he still visits the ‘narrow and gloomy’(Wilde,182) streets of the east end. As Richard Elman agrees ‘between these two worlds, no decent or comfortable middle classes , no quite family life, no dormitory sections in wildes vision of the big city’(p51). Dorian seems ignorant to the plight of people around him less fortunate. He uses this depressing environment as escapism, despite being inescapable to the poor people who live in the area whom opium dens, prostitution and filth are a reality. (Elman,154) P2-Sherlock Holmes-copper beeches) An alternative view of being able to disguise is that it is hard to realise that Holmes is one of these disguised people too. Holmes is a rational man in his work, but outside of that he is a drug addict, who ‘stores his tobacco in eccentric places like the toe of a Persian slipper’ (19th Century suspense, 93).In a city of thousands, Sherlock can easily flit in and out of society. Holmes is aware that vast amounts of crime happens everywh... ... middle of paper ... ...ood, which means allot of things, are overlooked. The city environment allows him to seem as if he is a functioning like any other member of decent society. As this essay has shown, both texts use a variety of methods to show the opinions of the time and author. Wilde uses his character to portray the double standards and decadence of the age. While Doyle similarity uses Sherlock and Watson as moral compasses. Although on the face of it both Dorian and Sherlock seem polar opposites, they do share similarities; the city is seen as a corruptible force by the authors. Some people fight this, like Holmes and Watson, but others cannot or will not as in Dorians case. In the end, the city changes its inhabitants whether they like it or not. Works Cited http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/perceivers/images/Scandal.pdf http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1661/1661-h/1661-h.htm#1

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