Analysis Of Frankenstein And The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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The Monster Within When one hears the word “monster,” the stereotypical horror, the hair-raising cliché is often pictured. While the commonplace image is found to an extent in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Oscar Wilde defies the custom in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Both novels, however, stress that it is not one’s outward appearance that makes a monster, it is the lack of responsibility for their actions that creates a monstrosity, whether it be a man or beast. The authors emphasize this point to promote social change and public awareness of topics that were controversial during that time as well as to encourage society to take responsibility for their actions to prevent a downward spiral into their “monster.”
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,
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Basil, a painter and good friend of Dorian 's describes him as having "a simple and beautiful nature"(Wilde 10). This nature unintentionally captures the eye of nearly everyone Dorian interacts with including Lord Henry Wotton. Lord Henry, a wealthy nobleman, entrances Dorian through his witty and non-conforming personality. Michael Wainwright, a lecturer and research associate at Staffordshire University believes that Wilde had, “a wholesome dislike of the common place”(Wainwright 8), and goes on to state however, “Wilde is not trenchant on this point, there is a certain amount of intrusion of real life… the pleasures and griefs”(Wainwright 8). Wilde’s rebellious attitude is reflected in Dorian and through Lord Henry’s eventual control over him. Unknown to Dorian at the time, Lord Henry 's influence would be catastrophic and slowly leads to Dorian 's demise. Regardless of Basil 's plea to Wotton, "Don 't spoil him... Your influence would be bad"(Wilde 10), Lord Henry is far too interested with Dorian to void their relationship. Later in the novel, Dorian meets a young actress and within weeks they are engaged to be married, an example of one of Wainwright’s described “pleasures”. Basil cautiously encourages Dorian 's engagement, but it is Lord Henry 's blunt words that have a profound impact on him stating," no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested"(Wilde 56). Now conscious of this and along with attending her worst performance, Dorian impulsively tells Sybil that night he never wants to see her again. Dorian discovers the next morning that Sybil has killed herself as a result of his cruel behavior. Though overcome with grief, Wainwright’s point again highlighted, Lord Henry encourages Dorian to see the beauty in her death, in her sacrifice for their love. Comforted by his words, Dorian’s self-proclaimed innocence,

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