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David Lary British Literature Ms.

Danjczek 9/13/11 The Power in Corruption In Oscar Wildes novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, the moral of the story is that with power and influence comes selfishness and corruption. Once Dorian has power and influence, he uses it for his own self-achievement. Dorian causes people to commit suicide by quickly losing interest in them. After Lord Henry tells Dorian that Sibyl Vane has died, Dorian says So I have murdered Sibyl Vanemurdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden. And to-night I am to dine with you, and then go on to the Opera, and sup somewhere, I suppose, afterwards. How extraordinarily dramatic life is! (96). Dorian was in love with this woman and was going to marry her, and then he found out she was not perfect and Dorian got so mad at her that she felt like there was no reason to live and killed herself. And after he find out about this terrible news, he does not mourn her, but rather makes plans to be with Lord Henry the next day. In this moment he clearly loses most respect he had for other people and now only cares about himself. In order not to have any guilty or depressing feelings anymore, he decides to isolate himself and escape from reality into opium dens. Before he goes out to commit this horrible sin, he repeated to himself the words that Lord Henry had said to him on the first day they had met, To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. Yes, that was the secret. He had often tried it, and would try it again

now. There were opium-dens, where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new (176). Dorian does not want anything more than to run away from his sins. He does not care about fixing his sins nor repenting because the does not want to apologize to people, just to have a clean conscience. The guilt was eating at him so much that he flees from everything and pretends it never happened. This new selfish Dorian is all caused from Lord Henry and what he told Dorian. Henry has a lot of power over Dorian and he uses it for his own amusement. He has influence over people, but not as much as Dorian does. This is because Dorian has the one thing that Henry does not have: youth. But Henry takes his own influence and corrupts Dorian into being his servant. After the truth about Dorians parents comes out, Lord Henry says, He would seek to dominate him [Dorian] had already, indeed, half done so. He would make that wonderful spirit his own (38). Lord Henry wants Dorians youth but knows he can not have it, so he decides to get the next best thing: Dorian. He realizes that in order to have even more power, he would have to pour all of his ideas into Dorian. Henry knows that this experiment has the potential to go wrong, but he selfishly decides to take the risk of ruining a young boys life. And unfortunately, he succeeds. Soon after Sibyl Vanes suicide, Basil notices that Dorian has been acting quite a bit like Henry. He tells Dorian You talk as if you had no heart, no pity in you. It is all Harrys influence. I see that (105). Basil, being the only person that Lord Henry does not affect, can see the enormous selfishness and lack of care for everyone that is now Dorian and Henrys characters. Lord Henrys power and influence has almost completely filled up Dorian. Henry has ruined this young boys care and respect just for the sake of seeing if

he could. Power and influence can only be used for justice if there are checks and limits on them, otherwise the corruption can ruin the pure souls of the younger generation and in turn create a society filled with chaos and anarchy.