Theme Of Conflict In The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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Analysis of the Major Conflict in Chapter Twenty of The Picture of Dorian Gray Among numerous of conflicts in the novel that involves the protagonist, Dorian Gray, the most important and crucial one ceases in the last chapter. Many analyze the conflict only on the superficial level and view it as the struggle between Dorian and his decaying Portrait. However, I found that the conflict could be interpreted more deeply and it actually contains multiple level of concepts that the author wants to express. My interpretation contains three levels of depth: the conflict between the protagonist’s desire of having a new life and his sin, prohibiting him from moving on; the conflict between Dorian’s seek for the inner peace and his troubling, decaying …show more content…
While Dorian’s beauty “had been to him but a mask, his youth but a mockery”, Dorian realizes that “youth has spoiled him”, and so he “loathed his own beauty” (215). He tries to start a new life. However, his regret of the evil deeds he has done prevents him from doing so. Such conflict is the first layer of my analysis. There are two paths for Dorian to take: he can either confess his sin to the entire world and beg for forgiveness, or simply bury all the evidences against him deeply in the ground. At first, Dorian thinks about confessing. However, he finds that it is a “monstrous” (217) idea which could bring him either the penalty of death or the society’s satires. Deciding to take the second path, he realizes that most of the evidences have already gone since he has been working on hiding them. However, there is one last evidence that he does not know how to deal with — the picture of himself, which has a stain of scarlet paint from the murder of Basil. In great fear and madness, Dorian destroys the picture and also in turn kills himself. His action of suicide ceases the conflict between him and his …show more content…
In the novel, Oscar Wilde expresses his understanding of the relation between everyday life and art in two obvious metaphors: Dorian Gray as the real life and his portrait as the art. In Wilde’s view, art should derive from real life, and thus be the reflection of it, however higher in authentic value. In the novel, the picture of Dorian Gray is actually the reflection of himself, which once has a great beauty that Dorian envies. As Dorian’s soul decays, the picture becomes eventually hideous because it is the most loyal mirror of his soul. By reflecting Dorian’s ugliness, the picture loses its original beauty. By using such metaphors, Wilde conveys an idea that “the more art reflects real life, the less authentic value it

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