Morality In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray depicts the depraved and patriarchal society of the nineteenth century England, but also the narcissistic, Faustian and hedonistic moral views that Dorian Gray, the eponymous character, goes throughout the novel. This essay seeks to demonstrate that various views on morality are present and paramount to the integrity of the narration that is The Picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde’s novel encapsulates the dysfunctional and perilous life that a young man begins to experience after he had his portrait taken. In the very beginning, Dorian Gray is described to be the embodiment of what, during the Victorian era, was seen as the ideal young man “...this young Adonis, who looks as if he was made of ivory and rose-leaves. Why, my dear Basil, he is a Narcissus”. He is presented as the archetype, youthful figure any boyish individual strived to be: exquisitely good-looking, rich and captivating. Thus, this is precisely why the citation “Your rank and wealth, Harry; my brains, such as they are,—my fame...Dorian Gray’s good looks, — we will all suffer…show more content…
And what sort of life do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” (Simion, 56) Therefore, this is where the New Hedonism appears after Lord Harry presents his case about his views of philosophy, about what he reckons to be the motivation and highest values of life in its beauty and youth. Consequently, this makes Dorian Gray ponder on pleasure and the satisfaction youth brings, thus ruining him. New Hedonism is embraced by the young Dorian who is childish and easily persuaded by Lord Harry “the private pursuit of aesthetic bliss can produce cruelty” (Rorty,
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