Dorian Gray – Term Paper

Dorian transformation is quite phenomenal that he starts feeling guilty of the actions he did. He could not handle the propensity of how he had done. In essence, he moved from a safe domestic space, for example, Basil’s garden, which was correlated to innocence and morally upright person who was not influenced by aesthetics into dangerous spaces, such as the opium den, as Wilde reveals in the novel. In fact, the opium den functions as the worst space in the novel, because Wilde depicts them as dangerous. They are detrimental to the evolvement and transformation of Dorian as they deny him traditional heroism. In essence, traditional heroes enter the opium dens when journeying to banish their evils, but Dorian’s case was different in the sense that instead of banishing the evil within, he partakes it. At the opium den, James, Sybil’s brother is present. As pointed out earlier, he had vowed to harm Dorian when he hurt her, and because he did, James had initiated a manhunt to seek vengeance since she killed herself due to Dorian’s breakup with her. However, he had no leads on his whereabouts. The only thin that James knew of Dorian was how her sister referred to him, “prince charming.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray Critical Analysis

However, at the opium den, James overheard someone referring to Dorian as prince charming, and instantly capitalizes on the opportunity to avenge her sister’s passing on. However, because Dorian was smart, he deceives him through his physical appearance that he was too young to have known her sister, who had killed herself 18 years earlier. In essence, this deception was smart because he had not aged in the same time span and his face still was young. In consequence, James releases him, but he is then approached by a woman who confirms that he was Dorian, the man he sought and he had not aged. She reproaches James for having not killed him. Upon realization, James runs after him but he is long gone. However, he does not lose hope of avenging her sister and starts stalking Dorian. Dorian starts to fear for his life. He knows what he had done was wrong and punishable. However, James is accidentally killed by a hunter while stalking Dorian. As such, it can be derived that the cause of James’ death is Dorian. At this point, he was responsible for the death of various individuals, signifying that he had tremendously changed. Dorian returns to London and informs Lord Henry that he wanted to change. It is at this point that readers note a change of heart in Dorian’s character. He did not feel anything for the immorality that his aesthetic life brought, but at that thought provided a glimpse of hope that he had started changing. His strategy begins with vowing that he would not break the heart of Merton, who was his current romantic interest. Dorian, upon taking a step towards goodness starts to wonder whether his change of heart could reflect in his portrait. However, his is not true because upon looking at the portrait it is clear that it had no changed a bit and he looked even uglier, which means that he had committed even more crimes. It is at this point that Dorian realizes that his motives to change, moral reformation, and self-sacrifice would bear no fruits.

As such, it was clear that his actions to change were the curiosity and vanity of his quest to change for the better. In effect, he decides that only by confessing will he absolve himself for all wrongdoings he had committed. He also decides to destroy the only evidence that had, which was the portrait, which can be considered to have reflected his true nature. His actions were no longer controllable. Dorian was determined to kill his past, so he could live without the portraits hideous warnings and in effect be at peace. Even so, as Wilde (228-229) writes, the portrait was the one living in his life as it was always changing. He takes a knife, which he had earlier used to kill Basil, and in rage of what he had become stabs the picture. Once he does that, with the intention that he was to destroy the evidence of his true nature, only ends up killing himself. In essence, because the picture was the one living, instead of it being destroyed, Dorian died like he had actually staubbed himself. Dorian and his portrait had changed positions, as when the servants approached his room, they only found an unknown old man who had stabbed his heart while his face was decrepit and withered. The servants identify the corpse by the rings he had on his fingers, which belonged to their master, Dorian. In addition, it is also noted that beside him was the portrait of him, which had been restored o his original beauty. As such, this shows that the aesthetic life was the sole contributor of Dorian’s death. For this reason, this confirms that mortality had achieved its purpose against the value of art and aestheticism.

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In essence, it is clear that aestheticism was the main contributor of Dorian’s transformation, from a moral and innocent person to an immoral one who had committed numerous heinous crimes, including murder. In addition, the novel also reveals that beauty is something that can conceal the true nature of an individual, which is evidenced by Dorian; he was handsome on the outside but ugly on the inside. However, at first, he was handsome, but upon adopting aestheticism, he gradually changes with his soul becoming uglier with each wrongdoing. Therefore, it can be derived that Dorian character was not static, rather, it was subjected to changes, which signified the transformation. His character changed significantly in his life after he was corrupted by Lord Henry hedonistic view of life. In essence, at first, Wilde presented Dorian as innocent and a person who was not even known, but upon taking an aesthetic view of life, this paves ways for his destruction, which is signified in the portrait. Each heinous act made the portrait uglier while his physical appearance did not change that much.as such, the ugliness of the portrait revealed his true nature of the soul. It is for this reason that it can be asserted that he rots in the inside but remains beautiful on the outside. In fact, when he decides to change it is very late for him, and he ends up killing himself. Therefore, it would be illogical to assert that his character had not changed. Even though at the end he welcomes the idea of change, readers are not presented with an opportunity to learn whether he had actually changed because he dies before amending his wrongdoings. Therefore, the novel reveals that leading an aesthetic life can only be advantageous only when the moral obligations are upheld. If a person has a character outside morals, then the aestheticism would lead to disastrous outcomes. Dorian’s morals were clearly eroded, and he hardly knew the difference between what was right and what was wrong.