The Importance Of Vanity In Dorian Gray

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According to the online dictionary of Merriam Webster, vanity is described as: “The Quality of people who have too much pride in their own appearance, abilities, achievements (…) The Quality of being vain” and “Something (such a belief or a way of behaving) which shows that you have too much pride in yourself, your social status, etc.” In my opinion, these descriptions fit the corrupted Dorian Gray perfectly. Dorian was a pure, innocent boy, until he was corrupted by Lord Henry, which made him aware of the power of his own youth and beauty. But, before I focus on Dorian himself, I am going to focus on the society revolving him.
In the novel we can see that society prizes beauty above everything else and it was founded on a love of surfaces.
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What matters most to Dorian, Henry, and the company they keep is not if a man is pure of heart, but rather if he’s handsome or not.
Thanks to the portrait, he lives free of judgment (in spite of his gruesome, immoral acts), because he remains beautiful and pure – at least in his physical aspect. Even though the rumours, he is never ostracized and still remains the core of the social scene of London. At one point of the novel, a character named Lady Narborough says: “You are made to be good – You look so good”; In my opinion, this is a good example of the futility of the society that he’s inserted in.
Lord Henry is one of the main influences in the change of Dorian, because he is the one that gave him awareness of the power of beauty and youth, and the one who gave him the yellow book that opened is mind to unthinkable possibilities; but he’s not the only one that takes him to a life of promiscuity and addictions.
We are all free to choose between good and evil, and, before Dorian met Basil, he didn’t had a strong notion of reality, and when he got aware of it, he was frightened; he didn’t wanted to lose the charms of his
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Living in a shallow society, Dorian ignored the bruises in his soul, and when he finally acknowledged them by looking at the painting, he didn’t felt sorry for what he did, he was only afraid of getting caught. He doesn’t have any kind of regrets. Now going back to Dorian:
Once Lord Henry makes him aware of his beauty, it becomes his most prized attribute, and, as a consequence, it becomes his most terrifying vice.
Through the novel, vanity haunts Dorian, damning his actions before they are even committed – it is his original sin.
It’s what motivates all of his actions, from his wish to be young forever in the beginning of the book, to his attempt to destroy the portrait at the end.
Even his altruism his driven by the desire to improve his own appearance. After being corrupted by Lord Henry, Dorian decides to embrace all self-indulgent, pleasurable feelings, despising everything that isn’t joyful to the senses.
In my opinion, as I already stated before, Lord Henry was his biggest influence, not only by his ideals, but also by the book he gifted Dorian and which he made his kind of

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