Heart Of Darkness And Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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It can be said that within the core of every human being, lies a certain amount of darkness. While this is true, it can also be said that this internal darkness can only surface given the right opportunity and within the right environment. However, once this darkness does manage to emerge, its force is powerful enough to destroy the very part of us that makes us human. This darkness and evilness of man is a prominent theme reflected in the setting, plot structure, and characterization of Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness and Oscar Wilde’s, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Though wildly different from one another, both books meticulously demonstrate the slow deterioration of man, brought on by the evil and darkness that lies within. Through thorough
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While Heart of Darkness demonstrated the corruption within the ideals of colonialism, The Picture of Dorian Gray outlines the corruption within the ideals of Victorian Hedonism.
In Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness, the theme of darkness is used to represent the inherently evil and dark side of humanity. The story begins with Charles Marlow setting out on his journey from Belgium, with the belief that he will meet the “exceptional” Kurtz and be an active participant in the colonialist mission to bring culture to the people of the Congo. However, when he realized that they have no true intention of colonizing the Congo, Marlow begins to understand that every human being has the potential for evil.
The profound darkness that is presented throughout the novel is foreshadowed in Marlow’s opening words: “And this also, has been one of the dark places of earth.” (Conrad, 3). Marlow says this in reference to the horrendous things that he has witnessed in his life, as well as to the darkness that he believes lies in the core of every human being. Due to the fact that the Europeans have also witnessed the horrors of Africa, Marlow describes England as being a place of darkness as well. However, while Marlow possesses the ability to face his own darkness, the Europeans are not man enough to do
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His purity and naivety left him completely unaware of how attractive he truly was. Unaware of the domino effect that which he is about to put into motion, artist Basil takes it upon himself to paint the beautiful Dorian and capture his glorious youth.
After being introduced to the hedonistic and beauty-obsessed Lord Henry, Dorian becomes fascinated by the ideals of Victorian hedonism, and its endless search for pleasure and the enticement of sensation. Just as the “fascination with the abomination” leads Marlow to explore the darkness, Dorian’s fascination with hedonism sends him into the “heart of darkness” as well.
Along with the completion of the portrait, comes a whole new side of Dorian Gray. The description, “When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognized himself for the first time.” (25), carefully illustrates Dorian’s newfound awareness of his beauty and self-worth.
As Lord Henry puts it, “Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions…” (19). Through these influential words, Lord Henry seems to be foreshadowing the ways in which he plans on imprinting Dorian’s

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