Misogyny In The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde

1541 Words 7 Pages
A Pretty Face The Victorian era’s heavily influential patriarchal standpoint became the basis of the misogyny seen during this time. Men would often regard the women as nothing more than second class citizens and even as their own property- these views only attributed to the sentiments and feelings they had towards them. If ever women should seek a voice in that society men would take immediate action to force them into uncomfortable situations as they did not perceive women as actually possessing their own voice. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a misogynistic novella that is made evident by the perils and later suicide of Sybil Vane due to Dorian’s impacts, the tragic love life of Margaret Devereux due to her father’s influence …show more content…
He rudely critiques her and demonstrates his ‘appreciation’ for women by saying she is nothing more than a “pretty face”; to Dorian only the surface is important to him and not the individual known as Sybil (75). Dorian’s comments do not associate Sybil as being a person, but rather an art form. Although Sybil is not rich, she is portrayed to be genuinely beautiful, kind and even possibility chaste, a reflection of respectability admired by men, however not Dorian, during the era according to Caird (Caird 185). Sybil is but one of the women Dorian so awfully affects in the novella; there are many, but towards the end of the story when Dorian reaches the opium den an older woman cries for him by the name Sybil uses, “She snapped her fingers. "Prince Charming is what you like to be called, ain 't it?" she yelled after him” (Wilde 144). This instance here is a clear example of how Dorian’s misdeeds have destroyed the lives of women; first we noted Sybil’s suicide, and now we have someone who is possibly addicted to this drug because of scandal caused by Dorian in her life. Dorian Gray’s hedonistic life not only destroys other women but renders them in a pitiful …show more content…
Dorian’s life of appreciating art rather than the individual eventually leads to the decay of Sybil Vane, Lord Kelso’s strict Victorian standards towards his daughter lead to the murder of her loved husband, and finally Lord Henry’s incessant poor comments on the virtues of marriage and women lead to his wife’s separation. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a misogynistic novella highlighted by the three men’s attitudes toward the women in their lives; rather than appreciating their redeeming qualities, the men have been accustomed to denigrating them as lower class people. This novella becomes an illustration of exactly how Victorian women were treated in that society; unfairly, cruelly and rudely.

Word count: 1487 words

Caird, Mona. “Marriage.” A New Woman Reader; Fiction, Articles and Drama of the 1890’s. Ed. Carolyn Christensen Nelson. Peterborough: Broadway Press 2000.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the Collected Works of Oscar Wilde. V. Holland. Ed. 8th Edition. New York: Harper Collins. 2002.

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