Essay on Picture of Dorian Gray: A Jungian Analysis

Essay on Picture of Dorian Gray: A Jungian Analysis

Length: 928 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

  The Picture of Dorian Gray begins with Basil describing his fascination with Dorian, and ends with his masterpiece reverting to its original splendour. He describes his reaction to Dorian in these words:

"When our eyes met, I felt I was growing pale. A curious sensation of terror came over me. I knew that I had come face to face with some one whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself." (6)

Such a reaction is not a reaction to another human being. It signals an intimation of something super-human. The word "fascinating" comes from fascinum, which means "spell." A fascination is caused by unconscious factors. It grips us; it holds us in its power; it acts upon us. The expression "face to face" suggests an image of a "god" -- cf. Jacob's experience at Peniel (Gen. 32.30) or Moses in the Tabernacle (Ex. 33.11). Dorian as both Dionysos and Apollo corresponds to both Jung's definitions of the Self: "a god-image in the psyche," and a "complexio oppositorum" (Vol. 9.ii; par. 73; also CW 11.283). For Jung held that a god-image must be a mixture of opposites "if it is to represent any kind of totality" (CW 13.289).

According to Jung, the Self is an autonomous archetypal image, which symbolizes something towards which the individual is striving. An experience of the Self thus represents an intimation of a meaning which the individual has not yet assimilated. The individual's task is to integrate the meaning implicit in his or her particular experience, but not to identify with it, for this would signal psychological inflation.

Basil lives only for his art (56). He is afraid of life, because it is capable of exerting an influence over him which he feels as threatening. He is afraid of Dorian, because Dorian personifies the Dionysian side of his own personality which he has repressed. Thus he needs Dorian, because only through Dorian can he feel that he is alive. The contrast between them is suggestive. Basil is fascinated by what he himself is not. The attributes which he finds so fascinating stand in "compensatory" relation to him. But, instead of seeing his fascination as symbolic of a need to develop the Dionysian side of his own personality, he seeks to perpetuate his experience through art.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Essay on Picture of Dorian Gray: A Jungian Analysis." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Dec 2018
    <http://akta-bud.com/view.asp?id=6606>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay example

- “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]

Research Papers
2300 words (6.6 pages)

The Vampire And The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Within the works of Interview with the Vampire and The Picture of Dorian Gray, there are many found commonalities. These two books are well known for their risky content as well as for their beautiful word usage. To compare, both Anne Rice and Oscar Wilde present a character in their stories whom contains the trait to never grow out of his or her youthful beauty and demeanor. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the character happens to go by the name of Dorian Gray. Likewise, in Interview with the Vampire, the character’s name is Claudia....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Research Papers
1378 words (3.9 pages)

The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay

- Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is the life of a wealthy, beautiful young man after selling his heart to the devil. The story begins in the late 19th century London in a luxurious painter’s studio where the readers are introduced to Basil Hallward and his dear friend, Lord Henry Wotton. The two characters, Basil and Lord Henry, discussed the portrait of a golden-haired young man that Basil was painting. Lord Henry Wotton was astonished by the sight of the magnificent painting. He believed that the painting was Basil’s finest work....   [tags: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray]

Research Papers
1983 words (5.7 pages)

Free Essays on Picture of Dorian Gray: A Quick Analysis

- A Quick Analysis of Dorian Gray The story begins as Basil Hallward, a painter, is working on a portrait depicting a young man named Dorian Gray. His friend, Lord Henry Wotton, is visiting and tells him that he thinks it is the best work Basil has ever done. He wants to know who the young man is in the painting, as his good looks are apparently very striking, but Basil is reluctant to talk about it. Lord Henry insists upon meeting Dorian, and eventually Basil introduces them, after warning Lord Henry not to try to "influence" Dorian, because he is a bad influence....   [tags: The Picture of Dorian Gray Essays]

Free Essays
3176 words (9.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis of the Women in The Picture of Dorian Gray

- Analysis of the Women in The Picture of Dorian Gray       Sibyl falls head over heels in love with Dorian Gray, willing to commit her life to him after only two weeks. Lady Henry hardly knows her husband, to whom she has been married for some time. Because neither woman is in a stable and comfortable situation, both eventually take drastic measures to move on. Therefore, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, both Sibyl Vane and Lady Henry are weak, flighty, and naive.            The weakness of women is found in various forms throughout the text....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Essays Oscar Wilde]

Research Papers
1140 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on A Portrait of Dorian Gray

- A Portrait of Dorian Gray “He began to wonder whether we could ever make psychology so absolute a science that each little spring of life would be revealed to us”. Lord Henry spent many days merely philosophizing about the power of the mind and how it could be manipulated. Exercising his abilities of control and influence was what Harry lived for, and when Dorian uttered the fateful phrase wishing to trade places with the portrait, he was not striking a bargain with the Lord of Darkness, but rather one of his rogues....   [tags: A Portrait of Dorian Gray]

Free Essays
756 words (2.2 pages)

The Conscience of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

- The Conscience of Dorian Gray in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Much of the criticism regarding The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde has dealt with Dorian Gray’s relation to his own portrait (Raby 392). While some may argue that the portrait represents a reflection of Dorian Gray’s character, this is only a superficial analysis of the novel and Dorian’s character. While Dorian Gray’s true character never changes, it is his own perception of his character (his conscience) that is reflected in the changing face of his portrait....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Essays]

Research Papers
2861 words (8.2 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)

Essay about The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Sins of Dorian Gray

- 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]

Research Papers
535 words (1.5 pages)

Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray: Essay

- Evil in The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Picture Of Dorian Gray is yet another novel portraying evil. The theme is very much reflected by the book's setting, plot structure and characterisation. It shows how individuals can slowly deteriorate because of the evil lying within themselves. The evil of this book is the evil created by one's self and thrusted upon one's self. The power of greed and selfishness take over Dorian Gray and create an ugly evil side to him. The mid eighteenth century was a very influential era, specially in England....   [tags: Picture Dorian Gray Essays]

Free Essays
924 words (2.6 pages)

Related Searches

His ambition signals the same kind of inflation as Marsyas: artistic inflation. He is punished by Dorian-Dionysos for not giving expression to his Dionysian side, and by Dorian-Apollo for thinking too highly of his art. The novel traces the consequence of his "artistic idolatry."

The novel may begin in Basil's studio, but its story is triggered by Lord Henry, who is equally -- albeit differently -- fascinated by Dorian. Lord Henry is a dandy who has elaborated a theory of Individualism. He advises Dorian to enjoy life to the full, to give way to every temptation, to realize his every fantasy -- but not to allow any experience to arrest the pursuit of his pleasure. He watches Dorian's progress closely, half aware that he is experimenting on himself (59). Dorian has what he values most, and feels he has lost: youth. In other words, Lord Henry is also fascinated by what he is not. He is captivated by Dorian, because Dorian lives the life he would like to live. Instead of seeing Dorian as symbolizing his need to involve himself in life, he contents himself with "philosophic contemplation" (40). He too represses his Dionysian side. He feels it sufficient to experience this through Dorian. The novel traces the consequences of his desire to follow his "experiment" to its end (59).

Basil and Lord Henry personify two different aspects of Wilde's personality. Basil's fascination with Dorian anticipates Wilde's fascination with Lord Alfred Douglas. For example, in the novel, Basil says that Dorian is "absolutely necessary" to him (9): "my life as an artist depends on him" (14). And he tells Dorian "You became to me the visible incarnation of that unseen ideal whose memory haunts us artists like an exquisite dream" (114). A few years after writing this, Wilde wrote to Lord Alfred Douglas "I can't live without you", and "you are the atmosphere of beauty through which I see life. You are the incarnation of all lovely things" (Letters, 358 and 363). Basil confesses his idolatry of Dorian (114). Similarly, Wilde, in a letter to Douglas, writes "I shall be eternally grateful to you for having always inspired me with adoration and love" (Letters, 397). The fact that the fiction antedates life suggests that the unconscious perceives more than consciousness. Similarly, Lord Henry never says a moral thing, and never does a wrong thing (4). He lives only through his conversation. He is too concerned with the promotion of his own views to be able to respond to those of any one else. His relationship with his wife ends in divorce -- as Wilde's did. He is also the carrier of Wilde's extravagant personality and wit. Basil is an artist whose best work stems from a passion for a young man whom he sees as a "Prince of Life." Lord Henry is a conversationalist who cuts life to pieces with his epigrams (97). Works Cited

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ed. Isobel Murray. London: Oxford University Press, 1974.

Wilde, Oscar. The Letters of Oscar Wilde. Ed. R. Hart-Davis. London: Hart-Davis, 1962.

Jung, C.G. The Collected Works. Ed. Sir Herbert Read etc. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953-1976. Vol. 9.ii; par. 73. Also CW 11.283.

 
Return to 123HelpMe.com
Whitney Houston | History Essay Topics | Comma and Its Usage