The Picture of Dorian Gray – Essay
Fjolbrautaskolinn i Gar? ab? Gu? ni Eiriksson Fall 2011 October 2nd English 603 The Picture of Dorian Gray Johanna Asta ? orarinsdottir Table of contents: Introduction3 Basil Hallward. 3 Dorian Gray4 Lord Henry. 4 Conclusion5 References:6 Introduction The main characters of the book are Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry which is sometimes also called Harry. These characters will be discussed throughout the essay. Who are they? What effort did they put in the story to make the plot work? Who do they represent? How did they evolve throughout the story?
I will try to answer these questions as carefully as I can. 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. 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. “I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself. ” (Wilde, 13, 1890). Basil is afraid that Lord Henry will spoil Dorian Gray’s purity. “Don’t spoil him. Don’t try to influence him. Your influence would be bad. The world is wide, and has many marvelous people in it.
Don’t take away from me the one person who gives to my art whatever charm it possesses; my life as an artist depends on him”. (Wilde, 21, 1890). Later when Dorian get’s more and more poisoned Basil cannot believe the stories that he has been hearing about him so he visits him, to see for himself. Dorian hasn’t changed a bit and his beauty blurred his vision. He believes Dorian is still good because of his appearance hasn’t changed a bit. And he pays for that misunderstanding. (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). Basil represents God in the story, he doesn’t change in appearance.
Dorian Gray Dorian Gray is first introduced to the story when Basil starts to talk about him to Lord Henry. He wants to keep this new fortune all by himself and doesn’t even want to reveal his name to Lord Henry. But Lord Henry is uncharacteristically curious and finds out about his name when Basil accidently spills it out. Dorian Gray is completely empty, it’s like he has no history before he meets Lord Henry and Basil. He is as innocent as one can be, “Tabula rasa”. He has all the naturalness in the world and there isn’t one bad quality in him.
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. Dorian starts to envy the portrait because it will remain young forever but he himself is growing older by every minute. Once he sees his own beauty in Basil’s painting there is no way back, he is conscious about his beauty. “As long as he remains beautiful on the outside, he doesn’t think it matters what happens under the surface … e lives purely for physical pleasure, and delights in his own aesthetic qualities”. (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). While his appearance remains beautiful, Dorian’s soul gets more and more ugly. And the picture is its mirror. Once in a while he looks at it, sometimes he’s happy to see how far he can go, sometimes he’s sad how bad person he has turned into. Dorian is conscious about how evil he has turned and when he has got to the bottom he wants to turn the page all over again and his mission is to get rid of the painting. That doesn’t end well; he cuts the painting but doesn’t realize that he’s cutting part of himself.
Lord Henry. Lord Henry is kind of the “bad character” of the history. He is introduced to the story when he goes to meet his dear friend Basil Hallward. Basil starts to talk about his new inspiration in art which is a boy that makes everything else worthless. Lord Henry is a curious person and finally meets Dorian Gray. He certainly has some feelings towards Dorian because as soon as they meet he starts to teach him “useful” lessons. When Dorian meets Lord Henry’s wife she says: “You must let me introduce myself. I know you quite well by your photographs I think my husband has got seventeen of them”. Wilde, 56, 1891). One of Lord Henry’s favorite actions is to speak and he certainly knows how to do it. Dorian accepts all the information like a sponge. Lord Henry doesn’t live after what he says to Dorian he only poisons him. He explains to Dorian how his youth will fade, and makes Dorian pursuit things that doesn’t matter. Meanwhile he sits down and watches Dorian become more and more evil. But he doesn’t care, it’s like he enjoys it. Lord Henry represents, without doubt the devil, Harry as he was sometimes called is another name of the devil.
He sits with his dear friend, Basil on Dorian’s shoulders and the good and the bad deal with each other. In the end everything falls apart in his personal life. His mouth didn’t represent his philosophy. Conclusion What is remarkable about this novel is that it ends badly. Now a day’s everything ends well so I think it’s a good relief. Everything is so destined to happen, like when Basil spilled Dorian’s name out if that wouldn’t have happened there wouldn’t had been any novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray is classic that never get’s to much read.
The hidden messages inside the book are numerous, and it makes one think while he is reading. This book should be more talked about. References: Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008). Basil Hallward in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://www. shmoop. com/picture-dorian-gray/basil-hallward. html Shmoop Editorial Team. (November 11, 2008). Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Retrieved October 2, 2011, from http://www. shmoop. com/picture-dorian-gray/dorian-gray-character. html Wilde, O. (1891). The picture of Dorian Gray. London: Penguin Books Ltd.