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Art. It's Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be so beautiful or so hideous. So monotonous or poignant. So imaginative or clichéd. So right or wrong? Art really has no moral, does it? Although the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray has no ethical stance, it was not Oscar Wilde's intention to have a moral. It was to show the splendor of art for art's sake.
Through out the paperback of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, wildly shows his beliefs in art for art's sake (Cauti XIV). This novel shows and follows the guidelines of, do whatever you want, whenever you want and don't worry about the consequences. In other words if you are feeling down, or depressed, go out and get your fix of whatever you need to make life that much better for you (Beckson 72-73). In this work of fiction, the is indeed a painting of a young male by the name of Dorain Gray. Hence the name of the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The picture seems to give this stunning gentleman a gift of youth. Mr. Gray uses this to his advantage of course. He heals his spirit by doing anything he pleases, honest or depraved. Take for example, the death of Basil. His death was neither an accident or an act of the great one from above. It was from a deep stab wound in the back of Basil's head just behind his ear, and repeatedly stabs poor defenseless Basil. This was all caused by the so called, "perfect man" with a eerie name of Dorian Gray (Wilde 163). Absolutely unjust and uncalled for by any moral on the face of the earth. Unless of course you live by the standards of art for art's sake.
Carrying on now, a certain individual by the name of Samuel Henry Jeyes wrote a letter to the horrible author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, about the method Wilde uses of art for art's sake. The letter said very negative things toward the book and about how the story hints at nasty sins and horrible crimes. Wilde responded to the attacks on his work quite angrily.
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Indeed it all started at a juvenile age for Wilde. All his beliefs and methods for writing and such. Inspired by a number of sources, there were a few that really catch the eye when it comes time to review Wilde's past.
Mr. Wilde attended a college named Magdalen, located in England. While Wilde is partaking in school activities, he finds a mentor who goes by the name, Walter Pater. Mr. Pater gives the ideas and the influence needed for Wilde's beliefs in the aesthetic movement (Cauti ix). This movement gets the credit for sponsoring the beliefs of art for art's sake. During these years, Wilde gains his reptutation for "dandyism," and long hair (Cauti ix). Of course there were many more influences besides Mr. Pater, although he gets the credit for starting Wilde off.
The book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, itself was influenced by another book called, Against Nature. This lovely tome was a highly influential novel of immoral standard of living of a chap from the upper-class who was a depraved individual (Keane 127).
Another thought would be the book La Bete Humain., it comes from the same time episode as The Picture of Dorian Gray. The lovely manuscript La Bete Humain, describes some of Dorian's proceedings and behaviors as "narcissism, transgression of class boundries, and sexual cruelty" (Keane 127). Even though The Picture of Dorian Gray is about sex crimes as well, they are different than the ones in La Bete Humain (Keane 128). But regardless what kind of sex crimes they are, is a sex crime really moral by any principles? Come on ..really?
While you ponder on that for a bit, lets move on. The theme of which The Picture of Dorian Gray is based upon, art for art's sake, is shown in a variously in the characters of the atrocious paperback.
Mr. Main Character, or as you may know him, Dorian Gray is a beautiful, gorgeous, well mannered, innocent, almost perfect young gentleman .as far as the world knows. As noted before, he takes part in various sex crimes, transgressions, ect. ect. Yes, Mr. Knight-in-shining-armor, uses drugs, tortures his friends (creepy right) and kills innocent people (Cauti xiii).
Mr. Oscar Wilde explains and uses rigorously his own aesthetic viewpoints in the course of Dorian Gray's actions. For instance, Wilde is asked to present a passage of one-hundred thousand words about his novel. Wilde simply responds, "There are not one-hundred thousand beautiful terms in the English language (Cauti xiii). One would have to see and admit, this is one of the cockiest, most arrogant things ever to be said, in the English language. This sentence tells the viewers of this novel many things. One of those things may be as followed. It, being the statement Wilde made, puts all exquisiteness over all considerations of homo sapien kind, either narrative or ethical (Cauti xiii-xvi). These statements would almost certainly make even the humans with the weakest morality sicker than one could even see in their mind's eye. In saying that, in can be interpreted that Wilde, does indeed provide guidelines for living a beautiful and useless life. Is it true, that even the press would get involved with such a useless, unethical, immoral novel such as this one? Why yes, yes indeed the press would love to. In fact they said such things as, "the book is prurient, immoral, unethical, dangerous, ect" (Cauti xiii-xv).
Come to think of it, the name "Dorian Gray" may have an aesthetic significance in the wake of it as well. Who would have deliberated on that one? The greeks, that is who. Yes, the Athenians, they are the assemblage who thinks the name Dorian has some type of uncivilized, immorality about it. It just so happened that the Athenians had neighbors, who would have thought. As it turns out the neighboring crowd, or group, were called the Dorians. Needless to say they were highly uncivilized and just a horrible group of people. If you consider that group people, and not complete animals. In Greek, the name Dorian also has a meaning of homosexuality (Cauti xx-xxi). Now take that in consideration, and look around at all the things on the earth and all the things that ever have been or ever will be and think. Think about how ironic that is that a homosexual name of Dorian, appears in a novel about a beautiful young, closeted, male. Coincidence, or coincidence. Now ladies and gentlemen, if that's not enough to blow your mind, take this in consideration as well. Vivian Gray was a book of a prime minister who was charming and beautiful like Dorian Gray. This breathtaking book has many sequels. One almost wouldn't expect what the sequels would be about. That's right. These lovely after-books are how the prime minister, Vivian Gray, transforms into this appalling monster, not literally, and obliterates anyone in his course. Who would have thought that. If it's more you want, then more you will get. Way back in the day there was indeed another novel, about a young man who goes by the name of Sylvester Gray. He, unbelievably, too is a ridiculously good looking man. And another irony would be the fact that he has a sister named Sybil. Does that name seem to ring any bells. Why yes, yes it does. In spite of the fact that in the book, with the man named Sylvester Gray, it is Sylvester Gray's sister, it is still eerily imitated by The Picture of Dorian Gray, due to the fact that Dorian has a female character in his life who also goes by the name of Sybil. Ironically, tragic things happen to this wonderful young woman as well (Cauti xxi).
Ladies and gentlemen, men and women, guys and girls, chicks and dudes, whatever suits you the best, moral principles are indeed moral principles. And god love it, fine art is fine art. You, everyone and their brother, and this author can clearly see now that they are two totally different things. By no means should they ever be mistaken. The only thing in this universe that can deny this proven fact, is the creator, god almight, the father, king of kings, lord of lords, son of man you get the point. God is the only one who can prove this wrong. So by saying that, it is clear that The Picture of Dorian Gray, did in fact have no moral value whatsoever, but was to, and did indeed show the splendor and demonstrate art for arts sake. We saw how Mr. Wilde uses this theory in his characters. We saw who, what, when, where, and why the influences were for Mr. Wilde to write such a horrendous book. We saw the atheistic beliefs of the author portrayed in every aspect possible for such a disgusting novel. We saw how arrogant the author could be. We even took a look at how the name of Dorian Gray is related to art for art's sake. Take a ponder on that. Let all that information sink in. And most of all learn the difference between art and morals