Theme Of Corruption In The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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Dark desires and forbidden pleasures of gothic novels are at the center of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Turn of the Screw. The novels explore the relationship between the corrupted and the corruptor. The gothic novels The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James share the idea of corruption, but in different ways; The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the story of moral corruption and extreme narcissism while The Turn of the Screw tells of corruption of innocence, though the effects of corruption are the same in both novels.
Wilde used Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray to represent the forces of corruption in the novel (Nethercot 850). Dorian Gray, initially introduced to the reader as pure
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The three main characters in Dorian each meet their own tragic end. Dorian, after realizing the immorality of the life he had been living, promises to himself that he will begin living a moral life again. he rushes to his portrait to see if it has become beautiful again, but it had not changed in the way he hoped it would. “He could see no change, save that in the eyes there was a look of cunning, and in the mouth the curved wrinkle of the hypocrite” (Wilde 211). Wishing the portrait be gone, he picks up a knife and slashes it. When the servants go to investigate a noise from Dorian’s room, the see the portrait of Dorian: young and beautiful, and an old, disfigured Dorian Gray laying on the floor with a knife buried in his chest. Dorian wished to destroy the immorality that corrupted his soul, which destroyed himself. Dorian was the object of Basil Hallward’s masterpiece and his affections. Dorian turns on him and murders him because Dorian no longer believes that there are any consequences to his actions. While Basil molded Dorian with paint, Lord Henry molded him with words. All that Lord Henry loves leaves him. His wife leaves him and Dorian kills himself in an attempt to end the ugliness of his portrait and free his guilty …show more content…
Basil Hallward is an artist completely devoted to his work. Lord Henry Wotton is the most influential man in Dorian’s life, admitting that he believes that “it is better to be beautiful than to be good” (Wilde 186). Dorian and Lord Henry believe that Dorian’s extreme beauty and youth are his greatest assets, but in the end it is what causes his innocence to become corrupted and eventually causes his death. Oscar Wilde once said, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be — in other ages, perhaps” (“Dorian Gray”).
Oscar Wilde, much like Dorian Gray, lived a very controversial lifestyle during the Victorian Era. In the 1840s, police had often looked the other way regarding cases of homosexuality until homosexuality laws became much stricter (Adut 214). In 1895, Wilde was put on trial for sodomy; in his trial, the controversial contents of The Picture of Dorian Gray were used as evidence against him. He was found guilty and served the maximum sentence for his crime–two years in prison (Adut 238). But, even before his trial, Wilde’s sexuality was common

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