Lord Henry In The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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It is outwardly evident the both John Stuart Mill, the author of Utilitarianism, and Lord Henry from Oscar Wilde’s classic novel Pictures of Dorian Gray believe that the purpose of human life is to engage in activity that is found to be the most pleasurable. The primary difference in the hedonistic constructs of Lord Henry and Mill is that Mill believes that this pleasure seeking lifestyle is in fact a moral one. Lord Henry not only recognizes the immorality of a hedonistic lifestyle, he basks in it. Lord Henry commonly has dinner parties with company who, at best, disdain him. In the novel these dinner parties often become his platform to pedantically rant about the joys of his hedonistic lifestyle. Lord Henry is also able to paint the principles of his hedonistic lifestyle on the blank canvas that is Dorian Gray. One telling quote from Lord Henry is when he states, “I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.” (Wilde, 19) The people that Lord Henry most enjoys surrounding himself by, and those that he takes the most interest in, are people that lack principles. In the third chapter of the novel, Lord Henry distinguishes…show more content…
As a man of privilege catering to the underprivileged majority would only hinder Lord Henry in seeking pleasure. The primary difference between these two hedonistic concepts is that Mill believes that the only way to be moral is to seek pleasure and prevent pain. Lord Henry commonly recognizes that although a hedonistic lifestyle is one of pleasure, it is not ideal in a moral sense. In fact, it isn’t clear to what extent Lord Henry legitimately the lifestyle that he frustrates his dinner company with, especially considering that Lord Henry’s life never had the downward trajectory that Dorian Gray’s life had, who lived a strictly hedonistic
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