Characterism In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1836 Words 8 Pages
“I’m looking for a classic.” People may walk into a record store and say this, in search for a great album. With many genres and albums to choose from, a decision such as this one can be challenging. A few of those genres most often include classic rock, classic jazz, the classics of some famous artist whose prime time is long gone, and classical music including Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and many other names that people can dismissively recite. Similarly, people frequently speak of the great classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Breakfast Club, and It’s A Wonderful Life. These valuable works of art surround us daily. Art manifests itself in many ways through various mediums such as writing, drawing, painting, filming, and photography. …show more content…
Relatability in literature is essential for defining a classic given that they “are books which exercise a particular influence, both when they imprint themselves on our imagination as unforgettable, and when they hide in the layers of memory disguised as the individual’s or the collective unconscious” (Calvino 4). Long story short: classic novels evoke change through understanding. Throughout The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is very easy for one to relate to at least one of the characters given their situations, circumstances, and feelings. This may be true because Dorian Gray, especially, is flawed like the rest of society. As a general society, people tend to see themselves in the worst light. It is often said that “you are your own worst critic.” This is especially true for Dorian Gray. After seeing a portrait of himself, painted by his friend Basil Hallward, he wishes for eternal youth and beauty, something which most people would vouch for. He was happy “If the picture could change, and [he] could be always what [he was]” (Wilde 29). He got his wish, and the portrait served as an outward manifestation of his flaws and it also “revealed to him his own body, [as well as] his own soul” (110). Because of this extrinsic manifestation, he eventually realized that as time went on, the portrait’s sole purpose became “to hide something that had a corruption of its own, worse than the corruption of death itself—something that would breed horrors and yet would never die” (122). Dorian Gray is a man of feeling; he felt shallow for all he had done, and ashamed as “His own soul was looking out at him from the canvas and calling him to judgement” (123). Dorian Gray proves to be a valid representation of society’s indifferences, insecurities, and self-realization. Arguably, almost anybody can think of a moment where

Related Documents