Dorian Gray Essay

3257 Words Jan 28th, 2014 14 Pages
Sparknotes – Dorian Gray

• Written by Oscar Wilde in 1890.
• Devoted to a school of thought and a mode of sensibility known as aestheticism, Wilde believed that art possesses an intrinsic value—that it is beautiful and therefore has worth, and thus needs serve no other purpose, be it moral or political.
• Dorian is a cultured, wealthy, and impossibly beautiful young man who immediately captures Basil’s artistic imagination
• Although Lord Henry is a self-proclaimed hedonist who advocates the equal pursuit of both moral and immoral experience, he lives a rather staid life.
• The Victorians believed that art could be used as a tool for social education and moral enlightenment, as illustrated in works by writers such as Charles Dickens
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• Under the influence of the “yellow book,” Dorian’s character begins to change. He orders nearly a dozen copies of the first edition and has them bound in different colors to suit his shifting moods.
• On the eve of his thirty-eighth birthday, Dorian runs into Basil on a fog-covered street. He tries to pass him unrecognized, but Basil calls out to him and accompanies him home.
• One can argue that Dorian turns to the study of perfumes, jewels, musical instruments, and tapestries as a source of comfort.
• Basil curses the painting as “an awful lesson,” believing he worshipped the youth too much and is now being punished for it. He begs Dorian to kneel and pray for forgiveness, but Dorian claims it is too late. Glancing at his picture, Dorian feels hatred welling up within him
• As the coach heads toward the opium dens, Dorian recites to himself Lord Henry’s credo: “To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” He decides that if he cannot be forgiven for his sins, he can at least forget them; herein lies the appeal of the opium dens and the oblivion they promise. The coach stops, and Dorian exits. He enters a squalid den and finds a youth named Adrian Singleton, whom rumor says Dorian corrupted. As Dorian prepares to leave, a woman addresses him

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