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The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

Dorian Gray is a wealthy and incredibly handsome young Englishman. He meets Basil Hallward, a great, well-known artist during his time at a social gathering. After their meeting, Dorian decides to have his portrait painted by Basil. Basil is greatly taken by the magnificence of Dorian’s physical appearance. As an artist, Basil becomes inspired, to great extent, by Dorian’s seemingly exceptional exquisiteness. Dorian becomes Basil’s “muse”. This results in Dorian sitting for quite a few portraits by Basil. A friendship also ensues because of their frequent encounters.

(Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Through his portrait sitting sessions with Basil, Dorian Gray meets Lord Henry Wotton. Lord Wotton is a very close friend of Basil’s. He is a nobleman and is quite the intellectual. A very articulate, witty and interesting conversationalist, Dorian Gray is instantly taken by Lord Wotton’s charm. Lord Wotton’s ideas are radical and endeavor to challenge the widely-accepted conservative concepts of truth. Lord Henry Wotton’s thoughts and theories reveal that he is a staunch believer of self indulgence.

He is an exponent of the quest for both proper and immoral life experiences. However, his lifestyle reveals the opposite. He takes part in the social activities of London high society but he is careful enough to not involve himself in distasteful conduct. He is eager to take Dorian under his wing and teach him the principles of “new hedonism”. Basil confides in Lord Wotton that he finds Dorian’s Gray’s physical attributes enchanting and overpowering. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Upon hearing Basil’s confession, Lord Wotton sought to influence Dorian by his ideals.

In one of their encounters, Lord Wotton seeing Dorian’s portrait by Basil leaves a distressing message to Dorian that youth and beauty are fleeting. Dorian, the vain person that he is, is greatly trouble by this statement. He agonizes over the preordained fact that his handsomeness, which he considers his best trait is vanishing as each day goes by. Dorian unknowingly puts a curse on his portrait, wishing that he could change places with image in the painting. He hoped that the painting would grow old and he would stay the same, vibrant and youthful. Basil gives Dorian the portrait to calm him down.

(Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Dorian falls in love with Sibyl Vane, a young, poor actress. In spite of her brother, James’ warnings that a relationship with Dorian will not do her any good, she still persisted. She gets engaged with Dorian. One night, the raving Dorian proudly brings Lord Wotton and Basil to the theater to watch Sibyl. As the play unfolded, the two guests openly disapprove of Sibyl’s acting prowess. It is Dorian’s nature to be overly concerned of other peoples’ thoughts about him and his choices that he takes the criticism to heart.

His guests try to console him that it does not matter if Sibyl is a good actress or not as long as they love each other but instead of calming down, he asks them to leave. Dorian tells Sibyl about this and the young and promising Sibyl who is swept away by her feelings for Dorian decides to abandon her love for acting for Dorian. In return, Dorian ruthlessly breaks off their relationship. This leaves Sibyl heartbroken and greatly distressed. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Upon returning home, Dorian gazes at his portrait and he observes that the expression on the portrait’s face had changed from a calm expression to a scornful look.

Seeing this, he feared that his wish to change places with the image on the portrait had come true and that his transgressions will be documented on the canvas. He decides to reconcile with Sibyl the next day. Unknown to him, Sibyl had taken her own life. The next day, Lord Wotton tells Dorian the news of Sibyl’s suicide. When he first heard of the terrible news, Dorian was distraught. To console Dorian, Lord Wotton advises Dorian to see Sibyl’s death in a different light. Lord Wotton counseled Dorian to treat Sibyl’s death as rather, a creative feat by being the epitome of tragedy and put this misfortune behind him.

Simply put, Lord Wotton advised Dorian to consider Sibyl’s death as just another case of life imitating art. Dorian hides his portrait for fear that someone else would see the changes in the portrait. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Given the conduciveness of the situation, Lord Wotton decides to take his “mentorship” with Dorian further by giving Dorian the ‘yellow book’ containing the exploits of the book’s hedonistic lead character. The book becomes Dorian’s ‘bible’. Dorian’s obsession with the book and hedonism signals the start of his corruption. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007)

After many years, Dorian’s appearance remains the same but his corrupt reputation precedes him by stories of his scandalous deeds and immoral exploits that hound his persona in London’s high society. A direct opposite of his physical appearance, his portrait by Basil had change considerably. The person in the portrait now looks repulsive, unbeknownst to many. When news of Dorian’s reputation reaches Basil, he decides to confront Dorian about his behavior. During the confrontation, Dorian shows the now hideous painting and the terrified Basil entreats Dorian to repent.

In a fit of rage, Dorian kills Basil. This is followed by other atrocious deeds until one night, Dorian, overcome by fear and guilt tries to destroy his portrait. In his struggle to do so, he collapses on the floor and his servants are baffled to see the dead body of a disfigured, old man, a knife in his heart, in the place of their master. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Homoerotic love This novel is replete with instances that show homoerotic love. Both Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton are vying for Dorian Gray’s attention. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007)

Basil is instantly won over by Dorian’s physical attributes during their first meeting. He becomes so obsessed over his physical attraction to Dorian that it is expressed in his portraits. Basil was so drawn to Dorian to the point where he said “as long as I live, the personality of Dorian Gray will dominate me”. Basil is very much concerned over Dorian’s behavior and his reputation. This is very evident in the scene where he confronts Dorian in hopes to get him to repent from his wrongdoings. In the novel, Dorian does not reciprocate Basil’s feelings. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007)

Lord Henry Wotton senses Dorian Gray’s adoration of his sophistication and radical ideals starting from their first meeting. This sparks an attraction where Lord Wotton coached Dorian in the ways of hedonism. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Dorian Gray’s fascination towards the hedonistic ideals of Lord Henry Wotton overshadows his other relationships. His obsession reaches to the point that he is easily influenced by the mere words that Lord Henry Wotton speaks. He is greatly affected when Lord Wotton expresses disapproval in any aspect of his life.

One particular case in point is his reaction when Lord Wotton and Basil Hallward openly criticized the acting skill of Sibyl, the woman with whom he was once engaged. Lord Wotton’s twisted stamp of approval became Dorian’s measure of success. Dorian’s idolization of Lord Henry Wotton and the principles of hedonism eventually led to his downfall. (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, 2007) Works Cited Wikipedia the free encyclopedia. (2007, November 6). The Picture of Dorian Gray. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Picture_of_Dorian_Gray#Homoeroticism

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