The Theme Of Beauty In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

2023 Words 9 Pages
Extreme fascination, passion, lust and beauty can be tempting, but admitting to them was a struggle facing people in 19th century or Victorian Era and this is evident in the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” When Oscar Wilde wrote, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, he was critiquing a cultural moment in time. He was attempting to make his Victorian audience think about their inability to admit to their true desires and fear of temptation. A British journalist by the name W. T. Stead committed the 1891 Christmas issue of his journal Review of Reviews to a study of “the ghost that dwells in each of us.” The article suggests that there was widespread interest in the idea of the unconscious—a part of the mind that exists below the level of conscious …show more content…
Beauty, the importance of art, and outward appearance is mentioned in chapter two when Lord Henry is speaking with Dorian about youth. He tells Dorian that “beauty is a form of genius- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation” (22). This is an extremely shallow concept; that beauty can be worth more than the depth and complexity of the mind. Gothic according to Spooner can be the focus on “the mask rather than the face, the veil rather than what lies beneath, the disguise rather than what is disguised” (Spooner 27). Beauty is one thing that needs no explanation, it is obvious to all who see it, but what is underneath the beautiful mask is harder to see and acknowledge. Dorian Gray is portrayed as a beautiful man but he has a tortured past that not everyone can see, he also is constantly leading himself into a tortured future because of his want to stay beautiful. When Dorian realizes that what he does at a particular moment in time will not change his doomed outcome of becoming less beautiful he begins to lose all self-control. He yields to all temptation, which can be good, but in his situation is extremely bad. By making this character fall dramatically due to temptation Wilde is demonstrating one possible, but extreme, negative outcome of temptation to …show more content…
People of the Victorian Era had hidden desires that they kept away from which is clearly represented in Wilde’s novel. The use of gothic conventions throughout the novel are an excellent way of convincing the Victorian audience that their simple and unexciting lives are not the only way of living. By using the gothic conventions of veiled identities, monsters, death, and forbidden sexuality; Wilde gives his audience a new outlook on life and tempts them into wanting to understand the natures of the main character Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde has an interesting way of criticizing the Victorian values and ways of life. He critiques by giving dramatic actions of the characters, contradicting himself constantly, and by humorous ironic statements given by the characters. He may be critiquing the people of the century, but he was also a member of Victorian society. Oscar Wilde knew what topics would hit his audience the hardest because he came to the realizations himself and he decided to share them in the most outlandish way he could, by using the Gothic genre. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” a dramatic story for a dramatic audience the perfect way for Oscar Wilde to make them see his

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