Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

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In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray it is unequivocal that a large part of Dorian’s corruption is attributed to Lord Henry Wotton and his cynical, paradoxical teachings. However, it is evident, upon closer inspection, that Dorian’s own nature and the portrait of Dorian himself – although inanimate – plays a much larger part in the deterioration and ultimate demise of Dorian Gray. Throughout the novel it is easy to get caught up in Dorian’s ever-prominent obsession with Lord Henry and his book and forget that Dorian’s own disposition and actions play the most dominant role in his demise.
Young Dorian is quite picturesque. He is malleable, naïve, and exceptionally narcissistic. Although, there is an undertone to his naiveté that indicates he may not be as naïve as he lets on. Basil’s description of Dorian Gray in Chapter I focuses on two things – how beautiful Dorian is, and how sometimes, he takes “real delight” in inflicting pain, albeit emotional or not, on Basil (Wilde, 14). Dorian indulges Basil’s flattery profusely. Basil relays to Lord Henry that they have sat and talked for hours, all the while, Basil litters Dorian with compliments. Dorian is quite obviously narcissistic based on this information. Furthermore, Dorian allows Basil’s obsession with him to intensify, even though he clearly does not feel the same way. This narcissistic manipulation is a clear indicator that Dorian, untouched by Lord Henry, is not as pure and naïve as originally thought.
Once Lord Henry attracts Dorian’s attention, his influence is palpable. Lord Henry is the fuel, while Dorian is the fire. Dorian was manipulative and self-indulgent, with little regard for Basil’s feelings, but once Lord Henry introduces him to his “yellow book” and ...


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...physical consequences that reflect the terrible things he has done; the portrait does. Dorian tells himself, “It was the portrait that had done everything” (Wilde, 182). The portrait allows him to commit these crimes with less guilt and without consequences because it is not merely a reflection – it is his living soul.
Dorian’s murder of Basil Hallward is arguably the most heinous crime that Dorian commits in the novel. Furthermore, it is the point of the novel that delves much deeper into Dorian’s mind and his reasoning for committing such atrocities. It is such a pivotal scene and the lack of Lord Henry’s presence reinforces that his hedonistic teachings are not the sole influence, nor the most prominent, on Dorian’s character. Dorian’s own nature and the portrait, which served as an excuse, were his downfall. In the case of Dorian Gray, his nature trumped all.

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