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Religious Ideology in

Oscar Wildes novel

The Picture of
udent: Madalina

Oscar Wilde

16 October 1854 30 November 1900

Irish of English origin

Victorian author, playwright and poet
His childhood: Mother- a poet, a feminist, a very original woman.
Wanted a little girl. Dressed him as such. Father always absent
Education: Trinity College in Dublin, Oxford
Victorian Literary movements: Two branches have evolved from the
a) Keats : worship of beauty ( "A thing of beauty is a joy forever") Then,
Pre-Raphaelites ( ref. to Raphael and the Italian renaissance as the
epitomy of beauty) Birth of Aesthetic Movement :Art for art's sake
b) Blake and Wordsworth : the social trend continued by Dickens and
popular novels of the 19th century
O.Wilde belongs to the first group, but is influenced by the second group

The Struggle with society

-The Victorian mentality put emphasis on puritanism and hypocrisy
- Wilde acknowledges his sexual preferences for men. However, he
marries a woman with whom he has two children.
- Becomes well-known for his poems, and plays. In 1890 The Picture of
Dorian Gray, his first novel to be published, is met with the critics
disapproval as it promotes a decadent attitude.
- Wilde remains in the public eye as a repugnant figure after his
homosexuality is exposed. He is brought to trial by the Marquess of
Queensbury for gross indecency .His experience as a convict affects
his health badly, dying at the age of 46 in Paris.

Despite Wildes sexual orientation, he did his best to

conceal it for fear of prosecution. This included his
becoming betrothed and producing two sons.
Therefore, the writer himself experienced two strong
conflicts: the former was with his inner self by denying his
innate nature, and the latter was caused by the religious
beliefs which guided the society of that times

The Picture of Dorian Gray


Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil

Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by
Dorian'sbeauty; he believes that Dorians beauty is responsible for
the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets
Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat's
hedonisticworldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only
things worth pursuing in life.
Understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the
Faustian desire to sell his soul to the devil, to ensure that the picture,
rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian
pursues alibertinelife of varied and amoral experiences while his
portrait ages and records everysoul-corrupting sin.

The foremost theme inThe Picture of Dorian GrayisAestheticismand its conceptual

relation to living adouble life
Lord Henry philosophically tells Dorian that: Crime belongs exclusively to the lower
orders . . . I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of
procuring extraordinary sensations implying that Dorian is two men, a refined
aesthete and a coarse criminal. That authorial observation is a thematic link to the
double life recounted inThe Strange Case of Mr Jekyll and Mr Hyde(1886), by Robert
Louis Stevenson, a novel admired by Oscar Wilde.

The story begins with innocence and beauty, moves through temptation in a
garden, and ends with murder and death.Everywhere the Kantian evil of
treating people as means permeates the story.
Even the hopelessly sentimental Basil Hallward, who sees in Dorian an Adonis
of his own, uses him for his own artistic and emotional purpose, Dorian Gray
is merely for me a motive to art.
The cynical Lord Henry Wotton
appears to have no reason other than that of sheer devilment when, in the
garden, he tempts Dorian to worship his own youth and potential for pleasure:
The only way to get
rid of a temptation is to yield to it.Resist and your soul growssick with
longing for the
things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have
monstrous and unlawful.

Good vs. Evil

The ultimate struggle inThe Picture of Dorian Grayis
between Dorian's warring sides which make binary
opposites. The character himself encompasses both
pure good and pure evil. In addition to this, Gray
experiences a displacement caused by Henrys
influence: this leads to turning from an innocent young
man into a wretched and treacherous individual who
bears a resemblance to the profile of a Byronic Hero.
The Picture of Dorian Graydepicts Christianity,
represented by Basil, as the only way of escape from
the satanic clutches of Lord Henry who embraces the
Luciferian sin of pride and vanity.

To be good is to be in harmony with ones self,

he replied, touching the thin stem of his glass
with his pale, fine-pointed fingers. Discord is to
be forced to be in harmony with others. Ones
own lifethat is the important thing. As for the
lives of ones neighbours, if one wishes to be a
prig or a Puritan, one can flaunt ones moral
views about them, but they are not ones
concern. Besides, Individualism has really the
higher aim. Modern morality consists in
accepting the standard of ones age. I consider
that for any man of culture to accept the
standard of his age is a form of the grossest

In Arts

The MGM movie released in 1945 directed

by Albert Lewin (faithful adaptation)
Dorian Gray (2009)- a modern
cinematographic approach which alters the
Styx's song Sing for the Day" references
the titular character with the line, 'ageless
and timeless as Dorian Gray'.
An opera play written by Lowell Liebermann
is based on the novel