The Picture of Dorian Gray: Use of Mirrors

In the questionable book, "The Photo of Dorian Gray," the only released novel composed by Oscar Wilde, the protagonist Dorian Gray begins to indulge the idea of hedonism from fellow friend Lord Henry. Dorian adores his beauty so much that he wants the painting Basil Hallward is painting of him to grow old in his location. As a matter a truth, the picture does age with every sin Dorian commits, and Dorian's outside look remains the same. The portrait is a reflection of filthy deeds done by Dorian, acting as a type of 'mirror.

' Mirrors play a substantial function throughout the novel, as they assist develop the style of hedonism and represent how art is in the eye of the beholder.

When Oscar Wilde published this unique, he dealt with numerous criticisms of homoerotic tones in the book. Dealing with such adversity, he added the beginning to attend to the criticism and assert the reputation of the book. The preface mentions that "it is the viewer, and not life, that art really mirrors.

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" (3) In other words, art remains in the eye of the beholder, and this shows what the viewer sees as to the potent of the sensation they get which in turn reflects one's character. Art is reflected by the one viewing the art, and their interpretation of it mirrors what they think the art is supposed to represent. A viewer such as Dorian Gray discovering out the meaning of his picture is an example of this.

On page 78, after rejecting his love Sibyl Vane due to bad performing, Dorian views the painting of himself.

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He notices the painting is somewhat various than in the past as it now bears a subtle smear "The shuddering, ardent sunlight revealed him the lines of ruthlessness round the mouth as plainly as if he had been checking out a mirror after he had done some terrible thing." (78) His wish has actually come to life, as the picture will age with each sin Dorian dedicates, while his outside appearance of an incredibly excellent looking boy remains undamaged. The painting operates as mirror because it shows the viewer's (Dorian's) sins, and likewise expresses the wickedness of his soul. On the contrary, an actual mirror only shows back what remains in front of it, and nothing more.

With the use of the portrait and mirror, these items help with the character development of Dorian Gray. A reader can see how Dorian views himself when he faces a mirror: "and stand, with a mirror, in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward [has] painted of him, looking now at the evil and aging face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that laughed back at him from the polished glass." (109) The mirror aids Dorian to recognize that he still is a handsome looking young man, while the portrait portrays the evil deeds that Dorian commits. The theme of hedonism arises also, which is where pleasure is the utmost important goal in life, and Dorian seeks this pleasure from his appearance and can achieve this by looking at a mirror.

Hedonism is a major theme in the novel, and mirrors help to establish and maintain this theme throughout the book. Character development is also acknowledged through the use of mirrors, as well as how art is in the eye of the beholder which is described in the preface. The art is in the eye of the beholder phrase is intriguing, as Oscar Wilde's book is controversial facing massive criticisms, such as people concerned with homosexuality, during the publishing of his book. The phrase within the preface concerning mirrors helps shed light on the controversy associated with the book. Mirrors reflect us, yet as portrayed in this book they can reflect our inner self.

Works Cited

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Oxford University Press. 1998.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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The Picture of Dorian Gray: Use of Mirrors. (2016, Aug 03). Retrieved from

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Use of Mirrors essay
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