The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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There are certain aspects of Dorian Gray’s personality that make me think he is schizophrenic, such an example is multiple personalities. In the beginning of the story, Dorian was a young, attractive boy with cunning wit and a semi-feminine charm. It was just an ordinary day and all of the sudden, Dorian meets Basil Howard. Infatuated with his good looks, the beauty of Dorian hit Basil like a Mata bus. As Basil began painting a picture of Dorian, he met Lord Henry, a close companion of Basil and he too was struck by Dorian in a different way.

He had interests of studying him instead of admiring him. Finally, Basil finishes the picture and in the first two chapters of the book and in one paragraph, you have met three contributions of Dorian’s conscience: the painting, Lord Henry Wotton, and Basil Howard. The painting was an obvious representation of Dorian’s conscience in my opinion because as his soul grew weaker, as did his conscience. As Dorian aged, he became evil and he never thought for himself, he either adopted Lord Henry’s views or Basil’s.

Dorian clearly listened to Lord Henry more because in the long run, he became evil. “It had, perhaps, served often as a pall for the dead. Now it was to hide something that had a certain corruption of its own, worse than the corruption of death itself-- something that would breed horrors and yet would never die” (Wilde 122). According to the bible, your soul is immortal and I think Dorian is expressing this in his thoughts. In this quote, Dorian wants to cover up his conscience and his soul to avoid listening to it.

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The portrait represents his constant nagging conscience and bad decisions he has made in the past. Lord Henry and Basil Howard were the good angel (Basil) and bad angel (Lord Henry) on Dorian’s shoulder. Lord Henry always tried to speak aphorisms and spoke of himself as a higher power, such as: “My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals” (Wilde 51).

Lord Henry was always trying to force his opinions into Dorian’s head and the sad thing was, he ate every word and practiced it in his life. Lord Henry represents the bad angel/conscience and it was also the side he listened to more often than any other. On the other hand, Basil represents the good angle/conscience. Throughout the book, Basil always tried to steer Dorian in the right direction. Dorian looked up to Basil in the beginning but, as his infatuation became stronger with Lord Henry, the respect dwindled and Dorian listened less and less. The prayer of your pride has been answered. The prayer of your repentance will be answered also. I worshiped you too much. I am punished for it” (Wilde 162). Even in a time of horror, Basil stood behind Dorian and tried to help him in a hard situation but, Dorian did not listen and turned to the dark side when he said: “Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil! ” (Wilde 161). Dorian had finally shut the door on his good conscience and killed him within minutes. In Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde is telling his readers it is harder to follow the better side of your conscience.

There are many temptations to do the right and the wrong thing and this story is an example of when you always make the wrong choices. The ending of this story also showed the final bad decision when a change is presented right in front of you and yet the weak character still follows a bad influence. Wilde is teaching us a lesson in life, to always follow your heart as you take in bad and good influences. Works Cited Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2003.

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