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The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the colored canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what it is; and for that reason the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray. I have the greatest contempt for optimism. As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.

If you want to mar a nature, you have merely to reform it. One can use them in fiction, of course. But then the only things that one can use in fiction are the things that one has ceased to use in fact. Believe me, no civilized man ever regrets a pleasure, and no uncivilized man ever knows what a pleasure is.

Essay: The Picture of Dorian Gray: Corruption Through Aestheticism

Surely his wish had not been fulfilled? Such things were impossible.


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It seemed monstrous even to think of them. And yet there was the picture before him, with the touch of cruelty in the mouth. I know what conscience is, to begin with.

It is not what you told me it was. It is the divinest thing in us. Oscar Wilde , the author said himself that all the main characters had something that he, himself had. Basil Hallward. Basil Hallward represents all the good in the story.

Perversion and degeneracy in The Picture of Dorian Gray - The British Library

In the beginning he is painting a picture of Dorian Gray, which is a boy that he got to know not that long time ago, they met in a party hosted by Lady Brandon. He obviously has some feelings towards Dorian because he has spent a lot of time painting his picture, and explored every detail of him. When he is asked to show his painting to the universe he refuses because he has put too uch of himself into it, and he is afraid that the viewer could read his soul through the painting.

Maybe he is afraid that his homosexuality will be found out. Your influence would be bad.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Essay Q&A

The world is wide, and has many marvelous people in it. Wilde, 21, And he pays for that misunderstanding. Shmoop Editorial Team, But Lord Henry is uncharacteristically curious and finds out about his name when Basil accidently spills it out. Dorian is little over twenty when he meets Lord Henry and Basil, Lord Henry starts to poison him to think that youth is all that he needs and tells him that he should enjoy it while he can because after few years it will all be gone.

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It is also Henry who has given him a distinctive curiosity. However, Dorian is not able to handle this newly acquired curiosity which is why it "becomes obsessive and even insatiable". Dorian ranges freely between aesthetic pursuits [ This feeling of guilt increases; after his encounter with James Vane he comes to the conclusion that "life had suddenly become too hideous a burden for him to bear".

Because Henry as well as Basil have their own view of Dorian which is very idealistic, it is easy for readers to adapt their perspective and to limit themselves, not considering other "equally valid interpretations ranging from very sympathetic to extremely harsh".

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Besides the interesting combination of extraordinary characters, there are also other aspects which contribute to the fact that The Picture of Dorian Gray both provoked and attracted throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. A main theme of the novel is morality, or rather immorality.

This is made obvious in the character's conversations, especially the ones involving Henry, which are also written in a more sophisticated language than the parts of the story which merely describe the course of action. Liebman goes as far as describing the book as "a running debate between [ These two moral options are offered to Dorian who falls for Henry's immoral ideas.

But to interpret Dorian's death as the failure of the New Hedonism in the meaning of Simon Joyce would be too flat, because at the end of the novel not only Dorian is dead, but "[ Although "Dorian Gray seems to have an overt heterosexual plot, and there is no explicit homosexuality in the story, [ Henry expresses the opinion that Dorian "looks as if he was made out of ivory and rose-leaves" and therefore desires that he "should always be here in winter when we have no flowers to look at". The original version from contains even more such descriptions than the de facto censored, amended one from For Wilde as the author, the gothic provides a useful frame in which he develops the plot in, and several gothic elements put emphasis on Wilde's intention.

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The portrait which looks worse with every sin Dorian commits visualizes the double-effect sins may have on one's psyche as well as on one's physical appearance. In contrast to this horror-element stands the wit in the dialogues, expressed mainly by Henry. This wit contributes significantly to the lasting appeal of the story. It does not only make the novel "a more pleasant reading experience" 63 for some readers, who find enjoyment in the paradoxes and in the verbal battles. But Wilde also uses his witty expressions to verbalize some general ideas on life at large and on several other issues.

Norton, pp. Norton, p. These elements are disguised in romantic.