Good Close Reading Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Portrait, Literature, Novel, Picture, Friendship, The Picture Of Dorian Gray, Development, Teenagers

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/11

Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a novel about eternal youth and utter corruption of Dorian Gray’s soul which can be seen in his portrait. However, Dorian states "The portrait must be hidden away at all costs. He could not run such a risk of discovery again. It had been mad of him to have the thing remain, even for an hour, in a room to which any of his friends had access.” (Wilde 114) This passage exemplifies the overall theme of the novel because Dorian commits horrible crimes, tries to hide his actions from those around him, but is ultimately killed by the very thing he wanted to destroy.
At the beginning of the novel, Dorian has his portrait painted. Lord Henry describes the portrait as a “young Adonis, who looks as if he was made of ivory and rose-leaves.” (Wilde 4) Later, Lord Henry, who wanted to meet Dorian in person, tells Dorian to live life to the fullest because his greatest attribute, Dorian’s good looks, would fade one day. Lord Henry's comment leads Dorian to wish for everlasting youth when he looks at his finished portrait. At this time, Basil, the painter of Dorian’s portrait, “discovers” Lord Henry had corrupted an innocent Dorian. Later in the novel, when Dorian calls off his engagement to an actress named Sibyl, he arrives home to see that his portrait was sneering. He hides the portrait behind a screen so that neither he nor anyone else could see the changes the portrait went through.
After Sibyl's suicide and refusing to allow Basil to exhibit his portrait, Dorian decides that it is best to hide the changing portrait. As the portrait was being moved upstairs, Dorian remarked that it was “[a] terrible load to carry” which is true since the portrait is now reflecting Dorian’s soul and lifestyle. (Wilde 120) After locking the door to the schoolroom, Dorian is relieved that the portrait is hidden and “No one would ever look on the horrible thing. No eye but his would ever see his shame.” (Wilde 123) As the years go by, Dorian does not age. However, his portrait becomes hideous as Dorian become more and more corrupt by hedonism.
Rumor spreads about Dorian misconduct. Dorian, for his part, keep most of his deeds hidden from public. Therefore, many people do not know what is true and what is simply made up. Even his friend, Basil, stated that he “don’t believe these rumors at all.” (Wilde 155) Basil further states the reasons he did not believe the rumors was because "Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed.” (Wilde 155) However, Basil does not know about how the portrait he painted of Dorian is showing every “sin” Dorian has committed. Despite the rumors and due to his position and wealth, Dorian is still invited to various parties by high society even though he has a bad reputation.
Later, in the story, Dorian shows Basil the portrait. Basil begged Dorian to repent his evil ways. Dorian, in a fit of anger, murders Basil. To hide his misdeed, he blackmails an old friend who uses his knowledge of chemicals to get rid of Basil’s body. At the end of the story, Dorian tries to atone for all his misdeeds. His portrait reveals to Dorian that any attempt at atonement would only be hypocrisy on his part. Dorian’s sins are finally revealed. As he stabbed the portrait, it remains undamaged but the picture becomes youthful once again and Dorian dies a hideous old man.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” begins with Dorian being innocent about the world around him and uncaring about his good looks. After meeting Lord Henry, Dorian begins to change. He has an awakening whereas he wishes his portrait would age and take on his lifestyle. As the portrait begins to change due to his many misdeeds, Dorian made the decision to hide the portrait. As with his portrait, Dorian hides many of his misdeeds behind his youthful and handsome face. No one, especially his friend Basil, believes the rumors. In the end, as Dorian tries to get rid of the hideous portrait, all his sins are transferred from the portrait to his corpse.

Works Cited

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. N.p., 1890. eBook.

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"Good Close Reading Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay Example," Free Essay Examples -, 11-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 03-Mar-2024].
Good Close Reading Of The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 11, 2020. Accessed March 03, 2024.

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