The Picture Of Dorian Gray Corruption Through

The Picture Of Dorian Gray: Corruptness Through Aestheticism Essay, Research Paper

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Corruptness Through Aestheticism

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is the narrative of moral

corruptness by the agencies of aestheticism. In the novel, the well significance creative person

Basil Hallward presets immature Dorian Gray with a portrayal of himself. After

discoursing with misanthropic Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian makes a wish which awfully

affects his life everlastingly. & # 8220 ; If it were I who was to be ever immature, and the

image that was to turn old! For that I would give everything! Yes, there is

nil in the whole universe I would non give! I would give my psyche for that & # 8221 ;

( Wilde 109 ) . As it turns out, the Satan that Dorian sells his psyche to is Lord

Henry Wotton, who exists non merely as something external to Dorian, but besides as

a voice within him ( Bloom 107 ) . Dorian continues to take a life of sensualness

which he learns approximately in a book given to him by Lord Henry. Dorian & # 8217 ; s unethical

devotedness to pleasure go his manner of life.

The fresh underscores its disapproval of aestheticism which negatively

impacts the chief characters. Each of the three primary characters is an

aesthete and meets some signifier of awful personal day of reckoning. Basil Hallward & # 8217 ; s

aestheticism is manifested in his dedication to his artistic creative activities. He

hunts in the outside universe for the perfect manifestation of his ain psyche,

when he finds this object, he can make chef-d’oeuvres by painting it ( Bloom

109 ) . He refuses to expose the portrayal of Dorian Gray with the account

that, & # 8220 ; I have put excessively much of myself into it & # 8221 ; ( Wilde 106 ) . He farther

demonstrates the extent to which he holds this doctrine by subsequently saying that,

& # 8220 ; merely the creative person is genuinely reveled & # 8221 ; ( 109 ) .

Lord Henry Wotton criticizes Basil Hallward that, & # 8220 ; An creative person should

create beautiful things but should set nil of his ain life into them & # 8221 ;

( Wilde 25 ) . Ironically, the intent of Basil Hallward & # 8217 ; s being is that he

is an aesthete nisus to go one with his art ( Eriksen 105 ) . It is this

really work of art which Basil refuses to expose that provides Dorian Gray with

the thought that there are no effects to his actions. Dorian has this

belief in head when he murders Basil. Here we see that the creative person is killed

for his inordinate love of physical beauty ; the same art that he wished to unify

with is the cause of his mortal ruin ( Juan 64 ) .

Lord Henry Wotton, the most influential adult male in Dorian & # 8217 ; s life, is an

aesthete of the head. Basil is an creative person who uses a coppice while Wotton is an

creative person who uses words:

There is no good, no immorality, no morality and immorality ; there

are manners of being. To populate is to experiment aesthetically in

populating to experiment all esthesiss, to cognize all emotions, and

to believe all ideas, in order that the ego & # 8217 ; s every capacity

may be imaginatively realized ( West 5811 ) .

Lord Henry believes that, & # 8220 ; it is better to be beautiful than to be

good & # 8221 ; ( Wilde 215 ) . Although he attests that aestheticism is a manner of idea,

he does non move on his beliefs. Basil Hallward accuses him stating, & # 8220 ; You ne’er

state a moral thing and you ne’er do a incorrect thing & # 8221 ; ( 5 ) . However, Lord Henry does

take the immoral action of act uponing Dorian.

Although Lord Henry states that, & # 8220 ; all influence is immoral & # 8221 ; ( Wilde 18 ) ,

he however drastically alterations Dorian Gray. As Dorian Acts of the Apostless on the beliefs

of Lord Henry, the portrayal & # 8217 ; s beauty becomes corrupted. & # 8220 ; Lord Henry nowadayss

Dorian with the renters of his New Hedonism, whose footing is self-development

taking to the perfect realisation of one & # 8217 ; s nature & # 8221 ; ( Eriksen 97 ) . If Lord

Henry & # 8217 ; s aesthetic thoughts have cogency, Dorian Gray & # 8217 ; s portrayal should non

become ugly, but instead more beautiful. Since the image becomes loathsome,

it is apparent that Lord Henry & # 8217 ; s beliefs are untrue ( West 5811 ) . Dorian becomes

so disgusted with the atrocious portrayal that he slashes the canvas, and the

knife pierces his ain bosom. Because Lord Henry is responsible for act uponing

Dorian Gray, he is partially the cause of the decease of Dorian ( 5810 ) .

While Lord Henry is indirectly the cause of Dorian & # 8217 ; s decease, he excessively

causes his ain ruin. Lord Henry alterations Dorian with the belief that ethical motives

hold no legitimate topographic point in life. He gives Dorian a book about a adult male who seeks

& gt ;

beauty in evil esthesiss. Both Lord Henry & # 8217 ; s actions and ideas prove

catastrophic, as his married woman leaves him and the staying focal point of his life, vernal

Dorian Gray, kills himself in an effort to foster the life style suggested to

him by Lord Henry. Finally, he is left destitute, without Dorian, the art

he so cherishes, because he tried to model it, as dictated by aestheticism.

Of all the supporters, Dorian & # 8217 ; s ruin is the most clearly

recognized. A immature adult male who was pure at the beginning of the novel becomes

depraved by the influence of Lord Henry. & # 8220 ; He grew more and more infatuated of

his ain beauty, more and more interested in the corruptness of his ain psyche & # 8221 ;

( Bloom 121 ) . He begins to take a life of immorality, including the slaying of

his beloved friend Basil Hallward. & # 8220 ; There were minutes when he looked on immorality

merely as a manner through which he could recognize his construct of beautiful & # 8221 ;

( Wilde 196 ) . However, there is still a flicker of good left in Dorian. He

ciliums out at his distorted wise man, Lord Henry, declaring, & # 8220 ; I can & # 8217 ; t bear this

Henry! You mock at everything, and so propose the most serious calamities & # 8221 ;

( 173 ) . This hint of goodness is non plenty to salvage Dorian, for he has crossed

excessively far towards the kinky side of aestheticism and can non get away it.

& # 8220 ; Dorian experiments with himself and with work forces and adult females, and watches the

experiment recorded twelvemonth by twelvemonth in the fouling and aging corruptness of his

portrayal & # 8217 ; s beauty & # 8221 ; ( West 5811 ) .

Dorian becomes so fed up with this portrayal of his psyche and his

scruples, that he slashes the canvas, killing himself. For Dorian, this is

the ultimate immorality act, the desire to free himself of all moral sense. Having

failed the effort to get away through good actions, he decides to get away by

perpetrating the most awful of offenses. Aestheticism has claimed its concluding


& # 8220 ; Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the universe thinks

of me: Dorian Gray what I would wish to be & # 8211 ; in other ages, possibly & # 8221 ; ( Hart-

Davis 352 ) . Because of the terminations he creates for these characters, Oscar Wilde

proves that he does non visualize himself in the immoral characters of this

narrative nor is he trying to advance their life styles. Of all the characters

whom he creates, he sees himself as Basil, the good creative person who sacrifices

himself to contend immorality.

& # 8220 ; It was his beauty that had ruined him, his beauty and the young person that

he had prayed for & # 8221 ; ( Wilde 242 ) . Contrary to Wilde & # 8217 ; s claim in the foreword that,

& # 8220 ; there is no such thing as a moral or immoral book & # 8221 ; ( seven ) , this novel has a

deep and meaningful intent.

& # 8220 ; The moral is that an absence of spiritualty, of religion, of respect for homo

life, separates persons like Wilde & # 8217 ; s Dorian Gray from humanity and makes

monsters of them & # 8221 ; ( West 5831 ) .

W.H. Auden feels that the narrative is specifically structured to supply a

moral. He compares the narrative to that of a fairy narrative, complete with a princess,

a wicked enchantress, and a faery godmother. This leaves & # 8220 ; room for a moral with

which good every fairy narrative ends. & # 8221 ; Not merely is the fresh seen as bing on

the pure degree of faery narratives, but it is claimed to incorporate & # 8220 ; ethical beauty & # 8221 ;

( Auden 146 ) .

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a fresh including a moral duologue

between scruples and enticement that is strongly conveyed. Though it is

made to look an advocator for aestheticism on the surface, the narrative finally

undermines that full doctrine. Wilde brings the inquiry of & # 8220 ; to what

extent are we shaped by our actions & # 8221 ; ( 26 ) . He besides demonstrates that & # 8220 ; art

can non be a replacement for life & # 8221 ; ( Eriksen 104 ) . It is a antic narrative of

hedonism with a moral to be learned and remembered.

Plants Cited

Auden, W.H. & # 8220 ; In Defense of the Tall Story. & # 8221 ; The New Yorker. 29 November 1969.

pp.205-206, 208-210.

Bloom, Harold. Oscar Wilde. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.

Ellman, Richard. Oscar Wilde. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. , 1987.

Eriksen, Donald. Oscar Wilde. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1977.

Hart-Davis, Rupert. The Letters of Oscar Wilde. New York: Harcourt, Brace and

World, 1962.

Juan, Efifanio. The Art of Oscar Wilde. New Jersey: Princetown University Press,


Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Random House, Inc. , 1992.

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