Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

Length: 1733 words (5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray


     The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde. The genre of this novel can be classified as a comedy of manners or a gothic novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Another version with an additional six chapters was published in 1891. One of the major themes in the novel was the Supremacy of Beauty and Youth. A very attractive man has a portrait painted of himself, and after being warned of the mortality of his youth the man, Dorian, trades his soul to remain young while his portrait bears the markings of his age and evil deeds. Dorian becomes increasingly evil thoughout the novel, while constantly being encouraged by Lord Henry Wotton. Eventually Dorian can no longer bear the person he sees in his portrait so he tries to destroy the painting but ultimately he destroys himself.

     In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the characters are predominantly aristocratic males. The main character is Dorian Gray, a wealthy young man who is both a handsome and a very impressionable young man. Basil Hallward is an artist who was obsessed with Dorian, naming him his muse and source of inspiration. Lord Henry Wotton is a friend of Basil Hallward who makes young Dorian his protégé, teaching him his philosophy of “new Hedonism.” Sibyl Vane was a young actress who caught the eye of Dorian during one of her performances, after being spurned by Dorian she is heartbroken and commits suicide. James Vane is the brother of Sibyl Vane. He did not approve of Dorian from the start, so he wanted to murder Dorian to avenge the death of his sister.

     The setting of The Picture of Dorian Gray is London, England. The story takes place from the years 1890 to 1908.

     In the years between 1890 and 1908, Dorian succumbs to the influence of Lord Henry Wotton. Because of this, Dorian disregards morality and follows Wotton’s “new Hedonistic” philosophy. Dorian became a very loathsome man on the inside while still remaining young and beautiful on the outside.

     In The Picture of Dorian Gray, there were quite a few symbols. Three of these symbols were opium dens, James Vane, and the yellow book. The opium dens represent Dorian Gray’s state of mind. He uses the opium to try to forget his actions, just as he tries to rationalize these actions so he can ignore his consci...


... middle of paper ...


...to find, Dorian, an old disfigured man lying dead on the floor with a knife in his heart.

     In the beginning of the novel Dorian Gray was a bright and charming young man. By the end of the novel, because he was so easily influenced, he became a selfish and cruel person. Various conflicts in the novel cause Dorian to change. In every traumatic event Lord Henry was there leading him into the lifestyle of selfish pleasure. Dorian Gray was physically attractive but that did not matter because he was such a foul creature on the inside.

     The Picture of Dorian Gray was very well written. Wilde used witty and colorful dialogue to grab the reader’s attention. This is an enjoyable novel that is still somewhat relevant in modern times. Dorian got away with his sins longer because he looked youthful and innocent on the outside so people did not want to believe he had a bad character. This proves that sometimes, appearances can over rule reality. This is an enjoyable novel that is still somewhat relevant in modern times.

Works Cited                                                  

1. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ed. Donald Lawler. New York: W. W. Norton, 1988.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of Oscar Wilde 's ' Dorian Gray '

- Everyone is merely a product of their surroundings and become what they have been raised to be. While some remain untempted by the vices of their peers, others completely absorb the negative influences in everyday life. Modern society values beauty over substance and The Picture of Dorian Gray serves to reveal that flaw. Oscar Wilde criticizes the superficial nature of people by satirizing the corruption of their views on morality. He says “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame” (Wilde 238)....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Term Papers
1454 words (4.2 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the character Basil Hallward is enamored with Dorian Gray’s youth and innocence. This love for Dorian is an example of Greek love or boy love that would have been popular during the late Victorian age, especially with the decadence. However, this love would have been frowned upon and in the case of Wilde, legally held against him. In the first chapter of the novel, Basil and Harry began speaking about Dorian. Basil tells Harry of his feelings toward Dorian: The merely visible presence of this lad—for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty—his merely visible presence—ah....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
819 words (2.3 pages)

The Nature Of Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- The Wilderness of Wilde Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray introduced cultural taboo, the means of art and beauty, and the internal pain of man into the literary world of the 19th century. Wilde himself went through these phases of life and wanted to push views of his reality onto his audience. He portrays several characters through the means of moral corruption over aestheticism while pushing his own controversial ideas and the limits of social normality, such as living indefinitely and homosexuality, over the audience of his era....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

- In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian Gray goes through the Hero’s Journey because of the challenges he had been through, the way he transformed, and his crisis. Wilde says that Dorian’s journey begins with Ordinary World. He is a young and good looking male. He has a normal life till he met Basil and Lord Henry. He now receives the Call of Adventure. When he met Basil at a party, they become friends and everything is still good until he met Lord Henry. He captured the imagination of Basil and for Lord Henry is how he knows that Dorian can do anything with his looks and perfection....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
1341 words (3.8 pages)

Analysis Of Oscar Wilde 's ' The Picture Of Dorian Gray ' Essay

- Prompt #1 - The many faces of a portrait In Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’, the portrait shapes Dorian’s life by manipulating his behavior and perceptions in a negative way. Throughout the novel Dorian aspires to be superior to the painting because of the many sins that are reflected through it. The portrait becomes more hideous because Dorian is extremely corrupted with looks and sex. Between Lord Henry and the painting Dorian truly becomes a monster. Dorian takes in the superficial ideas of life, hoping to reinvent himself, and become a completely different person....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Term Papers
1008 words (2.9 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) follows the story of Dorian Gray; a man gifted with exquisite natural beauty, whose vanity and obsession with his own youth leads him astray in a life of sin. As Dorian slowly loses his innocence, with the obsession of living hedonistically, his portrait suffers the punishment for his sins and growing age. Dorian himself remains untouched in age; however, the portrait reflects the loss of innocence in his pursuit of atheistic and hedonistic lifestyle....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Term Papers
1304 words (3.7 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- 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....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Term Papers
1066 words (3 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 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)....   [tags: Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Analysis]

Free Essays
1814 words (5.2 pages)

The Perversion of Dorian's Soul in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

- The Perversion of Dorian's Soul in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray         The soul is thought to be an immaterial entity coexisting with our bodies which is credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion.  It is the part of our body which is believed to live on after the body dies.  In Oscar Wilde's, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the main character, Dorian Gray, destroys the innocence of his soul and becomes corrupt. He becomes corrupt by failing to live a life of virtue.  The main reason for his transformation can be attributed to a portrait painted of him that captured the true essence of his innocence.  This portrait is the personification of his soul.  At the be...   [tags: Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Term Papers
3947 words (11.3 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde “Like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart.” - Hamlet When I went to the movies, I didn’t expect to be so intrigued by the characters that I would want to read about them individually. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” had many interesting characters: Mena the vampire, Alan Quartermain the hunter, Skinner the invisible man, Nemo the pirate, Dr. Jekyll the scientist, Tom Sawyer of the CIA, and Dorian Gray the immortal....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Essays]

Free Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)