Oscar Wilde’s novel
The picture of Dorian Gray was first published in the July 1890.This novel was written in an epoch driven by the aesthetic movement which began at the end of the 19th century in England. … The main topic on the novel is aesthetic, how to adapt it as a way of thinking. How Dorian looks for this beauty and how he wants to keep it for eternity represents monstrosity. The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Wilde is under the influence of the aesthetic movement which states ‘Art for art sake’ meaning that they do love the things the way things are, which was a very contradictory movement at that time.
The reason why I choose this theme is because in my opinion aesthetics is not only represented at the character level but the manifest of monstrosity in aesthetic is the main essence of the novel. So, in this essay I am going to talk about how Wilde talks about aesthetic in the characters: Dorian, Lord Henry and Basil.On the one hand, Dorian, the main character of the novel. We witnessed two moments and, therefore, two ways of observing its own beauty: Before and after meeting Lord Henry Wotton. Before meeting him, at the beginning of history, Dorian’s beauty is a “natural attraction” determined by his youth, ignorance and innocence.Lord Henry meets Dorian thanks to a mutual friend, Basil. In this description that Lord Henry makes the first time he talks to Dorian you can see the impression that the beauty of Dorian makes on others.
The more the novel progresses we can see how Henry is able to influence the young Dorian who is impressed by Henry’s philosophy of life that is gradually gaining importance in Dorian’s life. This is an example of one of the phrases Henry uses to charm Dorian:We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. . . .
Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. (Wilde, 7)Thanks to the convincing words of Lord Henry, Dorian himself is getting more and more amazed and will end up changing the perspective with which he will look at his life, becoming an egomaniac of himself.I think it is important to say that at the beginning of the play Dorian rejects Henry’s ideas and opposes him saying that they are repugnant and alarming. However, these ideas that he has been transmitting make him reflect and the temptation becomes more and more persistent. As the plot progresses, ideas and thoughts end up stripping away their own personality and consciousness and transforming Dorian’s vision of beauty into an obsession.
Especially after appreciating the painting that Basil portrayed when he met Henry. This ability to be influenced can be due to Dorian not having those parent figures in his adolescence that are the years when a person forms his personality as we speak in class.This happens until we get to the point where Dorian finally changes his model for beauty, after meeting Henry who begins to realize how ephemeral youth and beauty is. This beauty becomes an obsession, thanks to all the flattery that everyone gives him thanks to his physical beauty, the one he has and everyone tells him how lucky he is to be so handsome and nobody gives importance to the interior. Even Basil himself, who did not want Dorian to find out about his great devotion to his beauty, is impressed and represents him in the painting with all his love for Dorian’s art and beauty. Finally, all that corruption of the concept of beauty, and in general of life itself, which I have mentioned above, is reflected in the portrait of Dorian that Basil painted. Which end up becoming his soul and reflects not only the problems of old age, but also his depraved and vicious life full of sins a bad actions.
On the other hand we have Lord Henry, ” the monster” It seems logical to me to analyze also what aesthetic means for this character characterized by his rebellious and provocative phrases:”The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play.” (PODG)”Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” (PODG)”To define is to limit.” (PODG)”The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” (PODG)The only thing he thinks and cares is beauty, for him this is the only thing that should matter, all his philosophy of life boils down to the fact that you should enjoy its exterior appeal because years do not pass in vain.This character also states the idea of beauty as an end in itself.
Of course, by stating that beauty does not need explanation, he firmly maintains that it cannot be explained except according to his own laws. Thus, it reduces the human being to the condition of a simple object or source of pleasure produced by beauty.Both Lord Henry and Dorian attribute to beauty a value that in itself does not possess. Dorian is horrified to know that he will soon look old, Lord Henry lets him know; and they both want to change this principle. The ambition and vanity involved in its beautiful aspect, transmitted by Lord Henry, make Dorian a more despicable person.Como conclusión, como la belleza, y el placer a su vez, tratan de colocarse por encima de lo humano. A mi parecer, el tema central de esta novela gira en torno a la degradación del alma humana por la pasión y búsqueda enfermiza de la eterna belleza.
A raíz de esto es que podemos distinguir a lo largo de toda la obra, como la belleza, en su aspecto puro y sencillo, al abrir los ojos a una “falsa realidad” se corrompe y se convierte en obsesión. La reflexión es que no tenemos que permitir dejar influenciarnos por pensamientos subjetivistas de monstruos que nos retraten la realidad de manera equivocada. Nunca podrá existir la belleza y el placer por encima de nuestra persona.As a conclusion. Beauty and pleasure try to place themselves above human being and that is in my opinion, the central theme of this novel. The monster, who revolves around the degradation of the human soul due to the passion and unhealthy search for eternal beauty. As a result of this, we can distinguish throughout the whole novel, as beauty, in its pure and simple aspect, by opening our eyes to a false reality that corrupts and becomes an obsession at the end.
The reflection is that we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by subjectivist thoughts of monsters that portray reality in the wrong way. There can never be beauty and pleasure above our person.