The Gothic Tradition in Stoker's Dracula and Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray

The Gothic Tradition in Stoker's Dracula and Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray

Length: 2369 words (6.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Gothic Tradition in Stoker's Dracula and Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray


Gothic Literature was a natural progression from romanticism, which had existed in the 18th Century. Initially, such a ‘unique’ style of literature was met with a somewhat mixed response; although it was greeted with enthusiasm from members of the public, literary critics were much more dubious and sceptical.

Gothic writing is a style of literature that relies upon the evocation of moods, feelings and imagery for impact. This style of writing was developed during an age of great scientific discovery – such literature marked a reaction against the prevailing ‘Age of Enlightenment’. Many Gothic authors opposed the new-found faith and enthusiasm placed in these discoveries, believing that they restricted freedom of imagination. Consequently, Gothic writers inhabited areas where no answers are provided – exploiting people’s fears and offering answers that are in stark contrast to the otherwise scientific explanations.

Gothic writing is a style that depends upon the evocation of moods, which is reflected mainly in the writing style of a novel. ‘Dracula’ is written in the first person – ‘I must have been asleep’ - with a constant change of narrator within chapters. Wilde, however, wrote in the third person, omniscient, giving us the observer’s point of view whilst still showing us the intelligence and class of his characters through the language that they use – ‘come, Mr Gray, my hansom is outside’.

The diary entries or notes used in ‘Dracula’ are fragmented and have an epistolary structure ‘Jonathon Harker’s Journal’. This emphasises each of the character’s feelings of isolation and loneliness, adding to the appeal of the reader. During the entries, Stok...


... middle of paper ...


... die, innocence and good is corrupted and there is a connection to sexuality. Both novels create an aspect of mystery for the reader of the 19th century. Stoker’s portrayal of a creature little known by the English public of the 1890’s would have been of fear inspiring fascination to read about. Though few would have read John Palidori’s vampire novel, more perhaps would have heard the tale of Vlad the Impaler. He was a man who supposedly drank human blood or the blood of his war victims, and was in fact a ‘Dracule’. This basis in reality would add a sadistic interest to the novel. Wilde’s novel, though equally inexplicable, doesn’t create the same feeling of terror, but does raise a number of reservations in its reader.

Both novels are seemingly successful texts in upholding the interest of the reader through many of the typical conventions of the Gothic tradition.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Modern Society As A Reflection Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde

- Traditional gothic fiction was at the height of its popularity during the Victorian era, it exploded in the 1790’s and continued its reign well into the 1800’s. This confrontational style of fiction often blurs the lines of realistic and artificial, forcing readers to challenge their beliefs and surpass the norm. However, the aspect of gothic fiction that was most attractive to the Victorian audience was the way human fears and societal tensions were reflected in the deliberately fictionalised literary works....   [tags: Oscar Wilde]

Powerful Essays
1423 words (4.1 pages)

Oscar Wilde's Success at a Gothic Novel Essay

- In this essay I will be looking at how successful Oscar Wilde was at creating a gothic novel. I will be using Edgar Alan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher and the film Bram Stokers, Dracula and the The Picture of Dorian Gray. In this essay I will be looking at how successful Oscar Wilde was at creating a gothic novel. I will be using Edgar Alan Poe’s short story ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and the film ‘Bram Stokers, Dracula’ and the earlier version ‘Nosferatu’ as reference pieces to the gothic form....   [tags: English Literature]

Powerful Essays
1490 words (4.3 pages)

Gothic Fiction Essay

- Introduction Since the 18th century, Gothic Fiction has become a famous genre. As its popularity has increased during the decades it is still a well-known and much appreciated theme nowadays. Whereas many female authors were restricted to feminist novels and had the reputation of being unable to compose works valuable for everyone, the onset of Gothic writing bore a whole new prospect for them (Heiland 1-8). A famous example for such female authors is Charlotte Brontë. When she wrote Jane Eyre in 1847 she enqueued herself to the list of successful women of that genre....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Jane Eyre]

Powerful Essays
2538 words (7.3 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- In Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the character Basil Hallward is enamored with Dorian Gray’s youth and innocence. This love for Dorian is an example of Greek love or boy love that would have been popular during the late Victorian age, especially with the decadence. However, this love would have been frowned upon and in the case of Wilde, legally held against him. In the first chapter of the novel, Basil and Harry began speaking about Dorian. Basil tells Harry of his feelings toward Dorian: The merely visible presence of this lad—for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty—his merely visible presence—ah....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Powerful Essays
819 words (2.3 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde liked to be right. Wait—no, no, that’s not right. Let’s try that again. Oscar Wilde liked people to think he was right. He had the uncanny ability of saying something that sounded good and then doing the exact opposite. Some would call that hypocrisy, but the more popular term for it seems to be “genius” judging by his status as a renowned writer and still-popular celebrity. Genius or not, Wilde knew how to put together a sentence. His life was one for the books, and his book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is one ripe for the analysis....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Powerful Essays
1988 words (5.7 pages)

Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) follows the story of Dorian Gray; a man gifted with exquisite natural beauty, whose vanity and obsession with his own youth leads him astray in a life of sin. As Dorian slowly loses his innocence, with the obsession of living hedonistically, his portrait suffers the punishment for his sins and growing age. Dorian himself remains untouched in age; however, the portrait reflects the loss of innocence in his pursuit of atheistic and hedonistic lifestyle....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde]

Powerful Essays
1304 words (3.7 pages)

The Nature Of Oscar Wilde 's The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- The Wilderness of Wilde Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray introduced cultural taboo, the means of art and beauty, and the internal pain of man into the literary world of the 19th century. Wilde himself went through these phases of life and wanted to push views of his reality onto his audience. He portrays several characters through the means of moral corruption over aestheticism while pushing his own controversial ideas and the limits of social normality, such as living indefinitely and homosexuality, over the audience of his era....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Powerful Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray      The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde. The genre of this novel can be classified as a comedy of manners or a gothic novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray was first published in 1890 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Another version with an additional six chapters was published in 1891. One of the major themes in the novel was the Supremacy of Beauty and Youth. A very attractive man has a portrait painted of himself, and after being warned of the mortality of his youth the man, Dorian, trades his soul to remain young while his portrait bears the markings of his age and evil deeds....   [tags: Wilde Dorian Gray Picture Essays]

Powerful Essays
1733 words (5 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Art. It's Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Art can be so beautiful or so hideous. So monotonous or poignant. So imaginative or clichéd. So………right or wrong. Art really has no moral, does it. Although the book, The Picture of Dorian Gray has no ethical stance, it was not Oscar Wilde's intention to have a moral. It was to show the splendor of art for art's sake. Through out the paperback of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, wildly shows his beliefs in art for art's sake (Cauti XIV)....   [tags: Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Analysis]

Free Essays
1814 words (5.2 pages)

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Essay

- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde “Like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart.” - Hamlet When I went to the movies, I didn’t expect to be so intrigued by the characters that I would want to read about them individually. “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” had many interesting characters: Mena the vampire, Alan Quartermain the hunter, Skinner the invisible man, Nemo the pirate, Dr. Jekyll the scientist, Tom Sawyer of the CIA, and Dorian Gray the immortal....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Essays]

Free Essays
1290 words (3.7 pages)