Analysis Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray

The story begins with Dorian Gray as an adult, a young man who desires to stay young forever. He never grows old thanks to an antique painting he “sold his soul for”. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel for pessimistic people because it contains negative views on marriage, gender bias, and the downgrade of the women, which makes it undesirable for optimistic people.

Lord Henry, Basil’s friend, makes negative comments in relation to his relationship with his wife, Victoria Wotton, that are offensive to the people during the Victorian age, so subtle that people would not notice it right away.

When Henry was talking to Basil about his horrid marriage, Lord Henry states, 'You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties. I never know where my wife is, and my wife never knows what I am doing”. Lord Henry indicates that his marriage is awful and for it to function both parties have to lie to maintain their happiness.

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During this time period, marriages were blissful and in perfect harmony. However, there is nothing positive that Lord Henry shares about his relationship with his wife except for lies. After Sible and Lord Henry exchange minor conversations, Lord Henry explains to Dorian, “Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”. Once again Lord Henry implies how men and women are miserable with each other while married, showing complete dissatisfaction for both sides.

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During this period, one of the biggest gender segregation occurred, it was reinforced by using writings that would explicitly and implicitly state that women were treated like a trophy. This can be proven when Henry’s wife left and directly says to Mr.Gray “My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly.” Henry’s opinion emphasizes how women do not have much knowledge and their purpose is to serve as entertainment for the men. He keeps on fortifying this subject throughout the book as he was talking to his hostess saying “Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.”  He exclaims how dull women were to him, nothing changing his opinion at all.

In conclusion, The Picture of Dorian Gray is ruled by man and only a few women who are barely mentioned, or allowed to speak, or even degraded, by agreeing with the Victorian roles and the separate sides of the men and women that are maintained. This novel is told from a male perspective, the main ones being Dorian, Basil and Henry, and Sybil being Dorian Gray’s first love.The negativity and the belief of Chauvinism in this novel will put the hopes down of the reader if the mind is set to be optimistic about it.

Works cited

  1. Wilde, O. (1890). The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ward, Lock & Co.
  2. Raby, P. (2004). The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Kiberd, D. (1996). Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation. Harvard University Press.
  4. Sagar, K. (2013). Marriage, Society, and Law in the Age of Reform: Women, Power, and the State. Routledge.
  5. Knox, C. (2010). Oscar Wilde: A Long and Lovely Suicide. Yale University Press.
  6. Grigoriadis, V. N. (2015). Feminism, Chauvinism and the Work of Oscar Wilde. Oxford University Press.
  7. Foster, R. F. (1997). W.B. Yeats: A Life. Oxford University Press.
  8. Brewer, D. (1994). The Afterlife of Oscar Wilde. Springer.
  9. Annesley, J. (Ed.). (2013). The New Cambridge Companion to Samuel Beckett. Cambridge University Press.
  10. Hextall, I., & Harrison, K. (Eds.). (2005). Gender and the Professions: International and Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge.
Updated: Feb 28, 2024
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Analysis Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray. (2024, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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