Analysis Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray And Frankenstein By Oscar Wilde

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As once stated by Bernard Malamud, “The purpose of the writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” It is a known fact that society is highly influenced by the media and other forms of literature and art that it consumes. Being aware of this, it is the writer’s responsibility to produce work to positively influence society and to prevent its own downfall. Malamud is correct in this statement because it is up to the writer to counteract the negative influences that society consumes. Without the writer trying to push society to preserve itself, civilization’s own deterioration would be inevitable. This idea is seen in both The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, where the writers fulfill their duties …show more content…
Upon being introduced to Lord Henry by Basil, Dorian Gray’s moral and outlook on life is dramatically warped. As Dorian is introduced to this “new Hedonism,” he begins to become interested in living simply for his own worldly pleasure. Reflecting the destruction of Gray based on his newfound immorality and narcissism, Wilde uses the portrait of Gray painted by Basil as a symbol for the damage that his narcissism causes. As Dorian Gray grows more and more self-centered and apathetic towards anyone but himself, his portrait receives the physical, superficial effects of such behavior. This is first seen in Dorian’s apathetic and unfazed reaction to the suicide of his love interest, Sybil Vane, that he caused. Upon receiving this news, Dorian sees no change in himself, but instead his portrait is seen wearing a new smirk, representing the first signs of Dorian’s self-destruction. Through the gradual deterioration of his character, Oscar Wilde presents a warning to society about the importance of not succumbing to superficiality. The idea presented to Dorian that there is little to no difference between morals and one’s appearance is exactly what the writer is trying tell society is untrue. The influence that aestheticism and Hedonism …show more content…
Oscar Wilde warns civilization of the evils and danger of extreme self-indulgence and the destruction caused by narcissism, hoping to influence society to not be anything like the character of Dorian Gray. Mary Shelley also follows a similar effort, using the Gothic science fiction tale of the unnatural creation of a monstrosity in order dramatically show society the dangers that going against nature may cause. In each work, the writer demonstrates their duty of keeping society from destroying itself by using extreme situations as an

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