The Portrait Of Dorian Gray Analysis

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Wilde uses extensive examples of art surpassing reality to show that life as it is depicted in art is morally superior to "real" life because art is a purified reflection of reality that exhibits only reality 's most beautiful characteristics. Once Dorian has fallen in love with beautiful young actress Sibyl Vane, he proclaims that “the only thing worth loving is an actress” (Wilde 51). He dislikes most other women because there is no art to them, but an actress lives her art when she performs and is thus worthy of his love. When Dorian sees Sibyl acting, he sees her through her art, and thus at her most beautiful. Wilde states in the preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray that "all art is quite useless" and must be "[admired] intensely" because …show more content…
Dorian develops an intense, all-encompassing jealousy of the painting because Dorian 's single most defining characteristic is his beauty, and the painting surpasses in even that. After Sybil Vane 's suicide, for which Dorian is partially to blame, a blemish appears on the painting to mark his guilt. Dorian hides the marred painting from public view and tells Basil, "There is something fatal about a portrait. It has a life of its own” (Wilde 112). Dorian believes that the changed painting is a representation of his flawed soul that has manifested as an independent living being. He says that this is "fatal" because as his obsession with the portrait grows, so does his sense of competition. He expects the his repulsive soul to overcome his physically beautiful body and sees this as a form of murder. However, there is no true separation between body and soul, because, as foremost Romantic philosopher William Blake states, the body is merely the outward circumference of the soul. Dorian 's portrait thus becomes a reflection not just of his soul, but of his entire being. Wilde plays with a paradox of life and "[fatality]" in Dorian 's words to express this failed attempt at separation. The painting 's life is intrinsically his own life and his death would likewise be the death of the painting.The grotesque evil that Dorian sees on the portrait is not just a feature of the creature who threatens to overtake him, but an actual characteristic of his own existing identity. He believes himself capable of escape by dividing his real body from the painting, but the painting is part of him and he cannot run away. Any attempt at separation is by nature futile, as reflected in the lack of possessive pronoun clarity available in Wilde 's writing and in Dorian Gray 's ultimate fate:

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