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Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Published by Spititout
Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray
Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Published by: Spititout on May 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/17/2012

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------------------------EVIL IN ‘THE PORTRAIT OF DORIAN GRAY’------------------------
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde - his name almost as preposterous and over the top as some of his attitudes and sayings - was born and grew up in Dublin in a familyof a famous ophtalmologist and a mother that was a supportive of the Irish independencecause. He was the son of a surgeon, Sir William Wilde and the writer Jane FrancescaElgee (known as "Speranza"). He travelles to France, Italy Greece and North Africa. In1895 he is sentenced for homosexuality to 2 years of hard labour (the Ballad of readingGoal). Fallen into poverty and deserted by everyone, he flees away to Paris where he diesof abuse of alcohol. Although he has never had good relationship with Ireland, hecommended the "clever Celtic genius "to embelish the English language. From hisschool days and certainly at Oxford University, it seems, the beginnings of his fanaticalaestheticism could be found in his extravagant dress sense and consummate style. By1890, Wilde seemed to have come to the conclusion that the 'evil' in himself could not becontrolled, and so explored the theme not within the safe confines of a fairytale, but in adark, sinister novel with a tragic ending. The mostly well known work is "The Portrait of Dorian Grey"- a manifesto of decandentism and aestheticism. The painter Hallvard portrays a young man of exceptional beauty, Dorian Grey. Dorian, the real model, eager of pleasures and influenced by the cynical Henry Wotton, abandons himself to depravity,as more as he knows that the worse escapades woun't leave any trace on his face: bymagic, only his portrait will get old, so he lives by his foolishness. His degradationdoesn't have limits: he will even kill Hallward who reproaches him such shame. But thehorrible face of his portrait becomes gradually the most cruel accusation act for Dorian,who, in desperate impulse slashes it with a stab. But it is him who falls dead: the portraitfeatures return to those of young and pure Dorian portrait, while on background lies anold man repugnant and obscene.The theme is very much reflected by the book's setting, plot structure andcharacterisation. It shows how individuals can slowly deteriorate because of the evil
 
lying within themselves. The evil of this book is the evil created by one's self andthrusted upon one's self. The power of greed and selfishness take over Dorian Gray andcreate an ugly evil side to him. Dorian begins by being a very naïve lad. He is very easilyinfluenced by others especially his two new good friends; Basil and Lord Henry.The soul is thought to be an immaterial entity coexisting with our bodies which iscredited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion. It is the part of our bodywhich is believed to live on after the body dies. In Oscar Wilde's, The Picture of DorianGray, the main character, Dorian Gray, destroys the innocence of his soul and becomescorrupt. He becomes corrupt by failing to live a life of virtue. The main reason for histransformation can be attributed to a portrait painted of him that captured the true essenceof his innocence. This portrait is the personification of his soul Basil was an inspiredartist when he first met Dorian. He admitted that his picture of Dorian was the best picture he ever painted. To him it was more than a painting,it was as if he created another life. He put himself into it. He did not know that he was creating his own murder whenhe made the painting. He was always a good friend to Dorian. When Dorian talkedabout ageing being such a dreadful thing, something worth killing yourself for, Basil triedto calm him down. At the same time, Lord Henry was more of a directly harmfulinfluence onDorian. He started off as one of the kindest, most modest and innocent menever.That all changed once he traded his soul for his youth with the painting.He entered alife of gradual dissipation. It became easier and easier for him to sin because he alwayshad thought that he does not really have a soul. In my opinion that was a poor excuse because his greediness and selfishness began before he abandoned his soul. His first actof covetousness was when he craved to be infinitely young. He wanted to be different, to be superior to others, to have something that the whole world would be envious of. Thisis one of the biggest ironies of the story; that he no longer cared what people think of him. He originally wanted to stay young and lovely so others would recognise hisgreatness so he may still be able to do audacious things. His pride of individualism washalf of his fascination of evil.When Dorian comes over one day, he and Basil are talking when Basil asks, "Iwonder do I know you? Before I could answer that, I should have to see your soul."

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