The Picture of Dorian Gray Analysis – Term Paper

The hedonistic influence of Lord Henry prompts Dorian to explore his sensuality. At this time, his morals had not been corrupted. However, upon discovering the beautiful actress while she performed a Shakespearian play, he approaches her and consequently courts her. He then proposes to marry her. In essence, Sibyl Vane could easily fall in love with him due to his physical and mental attractiveness. It is for this reason that he refers him as prince charming and is happy for being loved by him. However, at this point, his brother James warned if Dorian harmed her, he would kill him. They court successfully, and it is clear that the two love each other. However, being a good and of rich character, Dorian invites his friends Lord Henry and Basil to see her perform one of Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet. However, her performance is not enticing as she performs poorly, and this makes Dorian’s friends he had invited, think that he had fallen in love with her due to her physical attractiveness instead of how she acted in the plays. Dorian is embarrassed and consequently he rejects her by telling her that her acting prowess was her beauty, and without that, she no longer interests him. However, upon returning home and looking at his portrait, he notices that it had changed and his wishes had come true. His portrait bears significant cruelty. His conscience returns that when coupled with loneliness, he decides to reconcile with her. However, it is too late for him, as she had committed suicide. That single decision of breaking up with her made him to take an aesthetic view of life as he understood where his life was headed, and a view that good looks and lust should suffice. As a matter of fact, Dorian was cruel to her. For instance, before they broke up, Dorian told her that she was nothing to him (Wilde, 91). It is derived that his belittlement caused her to commit suicide. As such, that was his breaking point and the journey of his transformation had started. He then locks the portrait and the following phase of his life he experimented on every single vice, which was largely influenced by Lord Henry’s novel he had given Dorian to read, which in effect, was morally poisonous to him.

Beyond the incident where Sibyl commits suicide, his actions where not particularly stated, and instead we learn from Basil. For instance, Basil, his friend approached him after running through rumors about him that he would previously not believe. As such, this reveals that Dorian had changed for the worse. His morality and innocence was compromised and long gone, which is a complete transformation from a good person to an evil one. In fact, Dorian’s actions towards those who spoken of his bad rumors consequently ruined their lives, and in effect, his actions proceeded to destroy his soul. For example, Basil after he went to see him, told him that whenever his name came up in conversations, Lord Staveley, who was a respected fellow, curled his lip, and mentioned that Dorian was a man who should never be considered by a pure-minded girl and no chaste woman should be allowed to sit with him in the same room (Wilde, 154). For this reason, this signifies that Dorian’s character had significantly changed to reveal the monster behind his handsome and attractive physique. In addition, basil claims that Dorian had corrupted everyone he became intimate or close with (Wilde, 156). In essence, the change of character can be attributed to Lord Henry, and is considered to be the stage where Dorian allows himself to follow his teachings and theories, that in effect brought sin and evil to Dorian’s life. In contrast to Lord Henry, Basil was his friend and instead of bringing sin and evil to his life, brought kindness and peace.

Basil makes these allegations and Dorian is not happy with him. At this stage he was corrupted and lost all goodness that was originally held in his conscience. Due to the void of conscience, morals, and general good in his character, he proceeds and murders Basil. The circumstances leading to Basil’s murder prove that Dorian had transformed to the worst and his soul was filled with hideous acts. Dorian shows Basil his portrait and told him that he was going to show him his soul, which was featured in the portrait. After Dorian unveiled the portrait, he exclaimed as horror broke his lips as he viewed the hideous face of Dorian on the canvas he had drawn him. Basil is shocked and shamed by the effect of his idolatry and profound wickedness, and begs him to repent by insisting that Dorian was not late for a change of heart. However, Dorian is not welcoming to the idea of change or repentance. Dorian felt hatred developing and rushed to stab him with a knife, killing him. As such, at this point, it can be derived that Dorian had reached a point in life where he had corrupted his life and conscience beyond control, which led to his downfall. As a matter of fact, his downfall is strongly attributed to the series of poor decisions he had made in a bid to fulfill his hopes of living a life that was youthful. However, the choices he took and the decisions he made caused the horrific transformation of his soul, that via the portrait, he had to look into as each day passed. After killing Basil, Dorian goes ahead and reveals his cruel nature when he blackmails Alan Campbell, who was his long friend into using his chemistry knowledge to destroy Basil’s body. Through Campbell, Sybil, and Basil’s murder, it is clear that Dorian had moved from a safe space into a dangerous one. For instance, Campbell asserted that destiny had summoned Dorian and transferred his spiritual and morally upright view of life into, shifting his gravity from the pale of his morally upright society to an unknown zone. As such, it is clear that Dorian had undergone significant changes in his life, which were evidenced by Campbell’s view. To signify how emotionally draining that was, Allan cannot handle that and in effect, he kills himself over the deed.

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His encounter with Sybil was proof that his actions of loving something artificial and subsequently punishing a real person proved that his soul had been damaged, which is portrayed in the portrait’s ugliness, but his physical presence remained unchanged. As he committed the heinous crimes the picture slowly changed, turning uglier upon each act. However, there was no actual capture of what Dorian did to his victims, but his continuous behavior of returning to see whether the portrait had changed signifies that he continuously corrupted his soul owing to the continuous deterioration of the portrait. As a matter of fact, Wilde wrote that the portrait undergone tremendous deterioration into a figure that he depicts as a wrinkled throat, twisted body, or fading eyes (Wilde, 126). In essence, Wilde, through the portrait revealed that each heinous action Dorian took was callous enough to damage his soul. In effect, by the time he met his downfall, via a continuous corruption and transformation, the portrait looked cunning, and Wilde goes ahead and describes the portrait as cunning and full of wrinkles that signified how hypocritical he was (Wilde, 227).