The Theme Of Destruction In The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde

1936 Words 8 Pages
In "The Picture of Dorian Gray," Oscar Wilde conveys a compelling theme centered on the detrimental use of influence personal in our relationships. Although the philosophical novel has multiple themes, the theme involving the detrimental use of influence in personal relationships manifests itself through the destruction of various characters including: Dorian Gray and Basil Hallward. One of the broader notions presented in the novel reveals itself as the stark disapproval of sacrificing one's self to another to the point of destruction, or the loss of one's soul. Wilde deftly delivers this recurrent theme to sway readers by using potent diction and implying grave repercussions. Throughout the first chapter, Wilde utilizes deliberate and …show more content…
Moreover, Basil continues to tell Harry that, "I couldn't be happy if I didn't see him every day. He is absolutely necessary to me……He is all my art to me now". (Wilde 7) Here, Wilde tells us that Dorian's influence consumes Basil to the point that he cannot be happy without seeing or painting Dorian; ergo, Basil begins his path towards destruction and the loss of his soul. After this, Chapter one closes with Basil further explaining to Harry the depths of his infatuation with Dorian and we see further evidence of Dorian's influence over Basil:
Harry! if you only knew what Dorian Gray is to me! You remember that landscape of mine, for which Agnew offered me such a huge price but which I would not part with? It is one of the best things I have ever done. And why is it so? Because, while I was painting it, Dorian Gray sat beside me. Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for and always missed. (Wilde
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Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to someone who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a summer's day." (Wilde 9) Nonetheless, Dorian's influence over Basil and Basil's sacrificing himself to Dorian conveys itself in the following line: "As long as I live, the personality of Dorian Gray will dominate me". (Wilde 9)
In Chapters two and nine, Wilde expands upon his theme involving the detrimental use of influence in personal relationships. Specifically, Wilde utilizes deliberate and potent diction to drive home the notion that all influence is immoral, and that you cannot influence a person without giving them your soul, "There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral-immoral from the scientific point of view. Why? Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul". (Wilde 13) Basil's influence on Dorian through the painting further expounds the immorality of influence

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