Symbolism In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray: A Professor’s Analysis “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (Wilde 3). There are many debates about the greatest book that ever existed, and this debate will continue to rage on but what is undeniable is that The Picture of Dorian Gray is definitely a well written book. The morality of this book however is a different issue altogether as this book discusses many different themes from youth to the dangers of influences. There are many facets such as the amount of irony and symbolism that is found throughout the novel. In the Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde uses symbolism and irony in order to expose the workings of human nature and …show more content…
The first example is that Dorian Gray himself stands for the gradual decline of one’s humanity in order to advance his own humanity in the way that he goes from being a beautiful youth who is innocent and pure (Wilde 20-21) to one who is selfish and cruel “ You are nothing to me now. I will never see you again…You have disappointed me” (Wilde 84-85) yet also regretful of his actions “It is not too late to make reparations for that. She could still be his wife” (Wilde 92) to a vicious being who blackmails Alan Campbell “you (Alan) leave me no alternative…If you don’t help me, I must send it (Alan’s secret) (Wilde 161). Gray represents the downfall of humanity in the face of corruption in the steps of first being the naïve youth into the worldly yet still kind man and finally descends into the brutal cold monster. In many ways he almost represents a fallen angel, as an angel is a heavenly being, who is innocent and pure but “falls” when it has sinned in such a way as Dorian Gray. Both are beings not of this Earth, sin converts innocent beauties into evil beings. The second example is of the two friends of Dorian Gray, Basil the artist and Henry the aristocrat. Both symbolize different aspects of humanity but also the same aspects. Both are beings who experience the world who have both live longer than Gray and knows about its horrors and pleasures. Basil, while not idealistic, attempts to keep Gray as uninfluenced as possible “”Don’t try to influence him. Your influence would be bad” (Wilde 17) while the cynical Henry ends up corrupting Gray with his epigrams “He (Henry) would seek to dominate him-had already, indeed, half done so. He would make that wonderful spirit his own” (Wilde 37-38). They are akin to the typical angel and devil who appear on the shoulders of the protagonist or simply put that Basil is the human need to be moral while

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