Portrait Of Dorian Gray

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4. Separation In love with himself alone, he finds a perverted pleasure in the constant comparison of his reflection in a mirror with an increasingly repulsive portrait: “He grew more and more enamoured of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul” (Wilde 106). Dorian felt under Lord Henry influence, who in turn encourages Dorian to live a “life of sensual pleasure, while he himself enjoys looking on from a safe intellectual distance. Herein lies the Mephistophelean aspect of his character” (Kohl 156). Lord Henry is a secular man, and throughout the novel, he does not commit a single act of immorality or crime. Basil notes: “You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing” (Wilde 8). In a late conversation…show more content…
. . . One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner” (Wilde 175). If his ideas are theoretical, purely intellectual, and his challenge to society is limited to words, Dorian Gray embodies the theory in practice. Dorian begins to lead a double life: a brilliant surface hides the criminal essence. Still, even while living freely, he is not frivolous, thus his youth and appearance allow him to maintain in the eyes of society the impression of the spotless purity: “Even those who had heard the most evil things against him, and from time to time strange rumours . . . could not believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him” (Wilde 106). In this aspect he also imitates Lord Henry, who is though seen as a very immoral man, is a respectful member of society. The process of moral fall has its climax by the assassination of Basil Hallward. Dorian feels how corrupt he has become; his soul was “sick to death” (Wilde 154) and he decides to try to live a moral life, which started when he “spared Hetty” (Wilde 174) by putting no…show more content…
His words and about amusements and life delectations, that Dorian dives into sensual pleasures, debauchery, and crimes. Kohl argues that “Dorian’s fatal error is to take Lord Henry’s theories as practical guides for life” (156). In “wild desire to know everything about life” (Wilde 44) Dorian destroys destinies of people, corrupting them with his thirst of pleasures. Friendship with him is pernicious for people around: Alan Campbell commits a suicide; Adrian Singleton conducts a pathetic life of the addict, having slid on the bottom; the reputation of the cousin of Lord Henry, Lady Gwendolyn is forever discredited—even her children are not allowed to live with her in one house. Liebmann emphasizes that among the major characters only the Mephistophelean Henry survives, and all others—Sybil, Basil, James Vane, Sir Henry Ashton, Lord Kent’s son and aforementioned characters are the victims of Dorian’s influence (451-452). Riquelme supports this idea: There is, as well, the parallel between Dorian Gray and Sybil Vane, as attractive young people to whom unpleasant, destructive revelations are made. Complicating that parallel is the fact that Dorian stands in relation to Sybil as Lord Henry does to him as the revealer of something harsh and damaging. Dorian also stands eventually in the same relation to Basil, whom he destroys, as he has already destroyed Sybil. At the end, he stands in that same destructive relation
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