The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay

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Many people influence our lives, shaping the way we act, talk, and even think. People can affect others in many positive ways; however, they can also corrupt the people around them. In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry influences Dorian Gray to the point where Dorian loses all respect, dignity, and integrity that he had and eventually leads him to experience his downfall. In William Shakespeare’s Othello, Iago clearly feels no allegiance to even one other character in the play yet he makes each feel as if he is his or her personal confidant and most trustworthy friend and advisor. Dorian Gray influences over unfortunate youths and leads them to their destruction. Finally, the society has a profound influence over Alan Campbell and Basil and they eventually meet their downfall due to the influence.
Dorian Gray’s downfall rests in his willingness to sacrifice himself to Lord Henry’s vision. When Lord Henry first meets Dorian Gray, he notices Dorian Gray’s beauty. Lord Henry tells Dorian that youth and beauty are the finest of all treasures, and they should be cherished and guarded because they quickly fade. Recollecting the words of Lord Henry, Dorian first recognizes the extraordinary beauty and youth in the portrait and then is pained by the thought of losing it. He envies the figure in the painting, and wishes, “If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture was to grow old! For that-for that- I would give everything!” (p.28) Lord Henry's words on youth and beauty influence Dorian to make this wish. His wish was granted and the painting will show his sins and his age while Dorian would remain young. As Dorian observes the portrait alter more each time he does something unpleasant, he realizes that ...


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...t Dorian even though he does not want to. The society informed Basil about the reality of Dorian. By informing Basil, Basil begins to think thoughts that he would not normally think. "When I first heard them, I laughed. I hear them now, and they make me shudder" (p.145). Basil loses his individual thoughts as a result of the society's influence.
Iago, Lord Henry, Dorian Gray, and the society provide others with negative influence that often leads to their own downfall. By adopting another person's ideas one gives up his or her own individual responsibility because they are not acting as the individual they represent. If another character communicates with Lord Henry, Lord Henry will preach his own ideas to the character and will make him lose his own individual thoughts. By adopting Lord Henry's thoughts, the character will experience the dangers of influence.

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