Dorian Gray : Moral Responsibility Essay

Dorian Gray : Moral Responsibility Essay

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In The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, it tells of a man's gradual downfall from innocence to corruption. Even the name of the main character in Oscar Wilde's tale, Dorian Gray, is very symbolic because ‘gray' is the combination of black and white, of good and evil. In many ways, Dorian Gray is the epitome of mankind. Dorian Gray, an innocent and naïve man, becomes corrupted after having one conversation with Lord Henry Wotton. He shows how easily people can become swayed and changed merely by the words of others. Society plays such an enormous role in the lives of people. As said by Thomas Babington, "The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." How much of how we act is influenced by others?
Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is set during the late nineteenth century in England, a period marked with the exceeding importance of social stature and personal image. The protagonist, Dorian Gray, rises as the archetype of male splendor and youth. His aristocracy and stunning beauty enthrall all his surroundings. He often poses for friend, Basil Hallward, an artist of great talent whose art is inspired by Dorian's undeniable charisma. While Basil's most extraordinary painting is in the midst of being completed, Dorian is introduced to Lord Henry Wotton, a cynical philosopher and skillful orator. His manipulative tongue and theories easily seduce Dorian. Wotton tells Dorian, "When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something ...


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...m the bad? This question lies not underneath a compulsory set of rules, but rather within the depths of our conscience. Lord Henry Wotton stated, "There is no such thing as good influence, Mr. Gray… to influence a person is to give him one's own soul". This is an interesting assertion, because later on Lord Henry, himself, turns into the bad influence, pulling Dorian's strings. The more time the two spend together, the more Dorian is affected by Henry's striking statements and is gradually transformed until barely nothing remains of his own personality. Henry Wotton's vices become Dorian Gray's and one starts to wonder which words or thoughts really belong to Dorian. This all shows the feebleness of the mind; how easy it is to unconsciously be controlled by others, mixing other people's impressions and thoughts with one's own, never being able to tell the difference.

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