Theme Of Beauty And Corruption In Dorian Gray

1382 Words 6 Pages
Youth is associated with freedom, joy, and overall beauty. The young are beautiful and ignorant and as time goes on one’s experiences shed light on the true appalling nature of life. This nature takes over and abducts the beauty that comes with being young. Oscar Wilde explores the idea of the fading allure of beauty’s relationship to corruption. In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde the author explores the close ties between beauty and corruption through his use of the character Lord Henry and his beliefs, the dramatic irony throughout Dorian Gray’s life, and the use of the imagery of the painting of Dorian Gray. One of the first characters the reader is introduced to in the book is Lord Henry. He immediately comes off as arrogant …show more content…
He does this specifically through the main dramatic irony that surrounds Dorian Gray’s life: the fact that no one knows about his wrongdoings and how they do not alter his appearance. An example of this is presented towards the end of the book when Lord Henry says, “ All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. It is not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder. I am sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure you it is true (Wilde 157).” This is an example of dramatic irony because the reader knows that Dorian has committed the specific crime that Lord Henry is talking about and many other bad deeds. This literary device shows that beauty often masks the corruption behind it. No one suspects Dorian of any wrongdoings because he seems like he is still a good person due to his maintenance of good looks. His personality that went along with his looks were sweet and charming; because he still looks the same people naturally assume that he also acts the same. Lord henry further helps assist the relationship between beauty and corruption when he asks, “Besides, what on earth could happen to you, Dorian? You have everything in the world that a man can want. There is no one who would not be delighted to change places with you (Wilde 150).” This second example of dramatic irony is laughable. Nothing on earth can happen to Dorian Gray because he sold his soul to remain beautiful. …show more content…
He does this by using his famous style of writing long, exceedingly descriptive descriptions. The picture correlates with the mood of Dorian Gray as he goes through his life journey. In the beginning the painting is described in an exciting way when Wilde writes, “For there would be a real pleasure in watching it. He would be able to follow his mind into its secret places. This portrait would be to him the most magical of mirrors. As it had revealed to him his own body, so it would reveal to him his own soul… Like the gods of the Greeks, he would be strong, and fleet, and joyous. What did it matter what happened to the colored image on the canvas? He would be safe. That was everything (Wilde 78).” The excitement and joy Dorian feel when he first figures out the painting’s power is related to the power a young person feels. They feel unstoppable; nothing can hurt them or stand in their way. At this point in the story Dorian has only committed one act of sin. He does not truly understand this ‘gift’ and what it will do to him. This is parallel to not understanding how far beauty will get a person in life. The tone changes as Dorian discovers the negative side of the painting. It is described only two chapters late when Wilde writes, “Hour by hour, and week by week, the thing upon the canvas was growing old. It might escape the hideousness

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