The Picture Of Dorian Gray Moral Analysis

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Morality and The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” C.G. Jung

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, was first published in 1890, right in the middle of the Victorian Era, an era that was characterized by its conservatism. Ever since, and due to the content of the book, it has been condemned as immoral. Furthermore, on 1891, Wilde published a preface protecting his book from public punishment in which he said “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (Wilde 2) In order to understand the reasons why both society and Oscar Wilde marked this book as immoral and moral (correspondingly), …show more content…

From the beginning of the novel we get to see a model of poor and unconventional morality, Lord Henry Wotton, a man who is moved by an ethic current called “New Hedonism” which taking into account society’s ethics (specially the ones from the Victorian Era) is quite immoral. The New Hedonism basically consists in looking for the individual’s best comfort, pleasure and happiness (based on beauty), leaving aside the other’s comfort and what should be morally done. This character with poor morality is who guides the book’s main character Dorian Gray along his adventure. However, it is vital to take into account the fact that Dorian Gray is never forced to follow New Hedonism and that Wilde never influences or invites the reader to follow New Hedonist …show more content…

Represented in Dorian, the portrait and Sibyl’s story. These are clearly against Biblic ideals, from the point of view of Christianity; the vice is an attempt of suicide, which contradicts the commandment of “not to kill”. The devil is against god and finally, homosexuality goes against the Christian the principles of family and marriage. All of these, according to the Victorian society appear on the Picture of Dorian Gray, therefore the book has an immoral content.

When it was published, The Picture of Dorian Gray was seen as an immoral book due to the use of the unspeakable and the moral decay it shows. But, taking into account all of Wilde’s arguments to defend the book, one must understand that this book isn’t looking to have a moral impact, but instead to free art from morality and social punishment, making society understand what aestheticism really is. Therefore, this book is neither moral nor

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