According to the nurture theory of the evolution of human behavior, when a child is first brought into the world it has no basis or idea of how to perceive things. The child is pure and innocent. It is naive to its surroundings, depending on the guidance of those around it to show it the way. When a child is born, most are accompanied by loving nurses, doctors, and parents. The moment this child encounters these other beings, the influences upon the individual begins. Their parents and peers influence their personas and ultimately who they become. They instill in them the values and morals necessary to survive in society. They teach them self-control, cleanliness, repression of anger and respect for elders and property. It is these morals and values which society has come to accept as standards. However, if a person is taught morals and values that stray from these standards they are considered to be corrupt. Society has developed methods of alleviating this unwanted behavior. In the tamest cases, people are ostracized and shun in society due to their lack of conformity to societies principles. Others endure strict penalties such as paying fines or jail time. But in extreme cases the penalty is death. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde uses the influence of Lord Henry Wotton as well as the portrait of Dorian Gray to represent this corruption and its consequences.
Wilde emphasizes Dorian’s beauty and youth in order to signify his innocent nature. Dorian is described as handsome, good looking, and beautiful throughout the novel. Lord Henry even calls Dorian an Adonis (in Greek mythology a youth who fell in love with his own image reflected in water), when he first views his portrait. Along with these youthful good looks comes the assumption that he is incapable of wronging others, also known as the halo-effect. This is revealed by Wilde, who sates that Dorian possesses “something in his face that made one trust him at once. All the candor of youth was there, as well as youth’s passionate purity. One felt that he had kept himself unspotted form the world.”(11-12; ch. 2).
This purity and innocence allows the audience to perceive Dorian as a “blank slate” or a “human canvas”. Although he is in fact in his late twenties, he is still portrayed as naïve and innocent. He is said to have a “simple and beautiful nature”(10; ch. 1), a comment t...
... middle of paper ...
...hat causes Dorian to be heartless to his actions toward others, which in essence starts his downward spiral into a life of corruption. The portrait further signifies the deterioration and corruption of an innocent, moral human being. Each time Dorian commits an act that is deemed immoral by society; the image of him in the portrait begins growing older and uglier showing the scars of his evil doing. The portrait acts as not only as a mirror of Dorian’s soul, but as a societal ideal. It represents what society perceives as moral and ethical behavior, therefore giving substance and value to the heinous crimes that Dorian has committed. When Dorian’s actions stray or contrast to what is deemed acceptable in society the portrait punishes Dorian by taking away the two qualities which Dorian holds dearest to him, youth and beauty, thus making him aware of his unscrupulous actions and in the end condemning him to death. Society holds within itself morals and values that must be adhered to. It is these guidelines that attempt to keep our surroundings in safe and prosperous conditions. Not conforming to these principles has strict repercussions, in some cases, such as Dorian Grays, death.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Oftentimes in life, it seems easier to comply in nefarious acts than to uphold honorable standards. In “Au Lecteur” by Charles Baudelaire and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the authors both convey their disappointment in humanity. By employing the themes of impulse, boredom, and hypocrisy during the Victorian era both Wilde and Baudelaire argue that a yearning desire for wickedness lies in all human beings and once evil becomes habit the only escape from consequence is death. Through the incorporation of symbolism, Baudelaire and Wilde both echo how sin innately drives human impulse.... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, Human]
1301 words (3.7 pages)
- Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray is just the sort of book that made Victorian England shiver. This decadent masterpiece is anything but a vehicle for the propagation of middle-class morality. We have in Wilde the ultimate aesthete, a disciple of Walter Pater, a dandy who in his personal life seems to have lived out Pater's quiet injunction to "burn with that hard, gemlike flame" in experiencing art and, no doubt, other things. How could Wilde's book, given its affinities with the age's decadent manifestoes--Stèphane Mallarmé's symbolist poetry, Huysmans' À Rebours (Against Nature), Aubrey Beardsley's drawings, The Yellow Book, and so on--serve as a cultural criti... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray Essays]
2077 words (5.9 pages)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray: Art Cannot Substitute Life The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, is the story of moral corruption by the means of aestheticism. In the novel, the well meaning artist Basil Hallward presets young Dorian Gray with a portrait of himself. After conversing with cynical Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian makes a wish that dreadfully affects his life forever. "If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old. For that I would give everything.... [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Essays]
1439 words (4.1 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Dracula Picture of Dorian Gray]
2369 words (6.8 pages)
- In Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, beauty is depicted as the driving force in the lives of the three main characters, Dorian, Basil and Lord Henry. Dorian, the main character, believes in seizing the day. "Dorian is described as an addict, having mad hungers that grew more ravenous as he fed them." Basil, the artist, admires all that is beautiful in life. Lord Henry, accredited one's physical appearance to the ability of achieving accomplishments in life. "Lord Henry's moral position in Dorian Gray is akin to that of the devil; he is the initial serpent in the Garden, and continues to coax Dorian to evil throughout the novel." Beauty ordains the fate of Dorian, Basil, and Lo... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1227 words (3.5 pages)
- There are so many factors making our choices constrained and even influencing our decisions and thoughts. In The picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian, a beautiful and innocent young man was affected by his portrait, Lord Henry who Dorian trusted him with no reason, and the yellow book which was given by Henry. The wish Dorian made came true. His portrait would change and Dorian stayed who he was. But, facing the horrible changes of his portrait, Dorian started blaming the painter who should not painted of him so that he murdered the painter.... [tags: book, portrait, opiu,, youth, beauty]
946 words (2.7 pages)
- “There were passions in him that would find their terrible outlet, dreams that would make the shadow of the real evil” (Wilde,115). The author reveals pleasure as the driving force of many characters within Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, but this search for pleasure becomes fatal once taken into the hands of Dorian Gray. Throughout the novel Dorian Gray changes his opinion on pleasure based on what he requires in order to escape reality. With each death and misdeed he is responsible for; Dorian must search harder for a more drastic form of release.... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray 2016]
2300 words (6.6 pages)
- Influence, Corruption and Conscience in The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, explores the themes of influence, corruption and conscience. “The obvious influence of Lord Henry upon Dorian shows how one may corrupt another to such an extent that one's own conscience withers and dies”(Weintraub 116). Basil Hallward, a painter, knows the corruptive influence that Lord Henry can impose upon his model, Dorian Gray. Basil does not want Lord Henry to even meet Dorian because he is afraid that Dorian will be influenced and ruined.... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray Essays]
3042 words (8.7 pages)
- What good does it do a man to gain the whole world yet forfiet his soul. None, perfection, the goal we all reach for, yet is it really attainable to become perfect without giving something in return, possibly your soul. This is a theme challenged in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. We see the tragedy of a young beautiful Englishman, Dorian Gray, who becomes a vain sinner dedicated to pleasure. Dorian's inner secrets and weakness of mind becomes his downfall. In this novel Dorian Gray's apparent perfection is destroyed by his weakness of mind and naiiveness, which becomes the downfall of his soul as his mind is opened to sin and Hedonism by Lord Henry Wotton.... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray]
535 words (1.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde Book Review]
1344 words (3.8 pages)