IRJE: Feb 15 (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

The picture of Dorian Gray, written by Oscar Wilde and published in 1890, was an unconventional novel about the moral struggles of Dorian Gray, a charming young man who is revealed to the darkest beauties and moral indecencies to humanity. Basil Hallward, an artist that worships Dorian for his looks and purity, creates an incredible portrait for him. Dorian soon meets Lord Henry Wotton through Basil’s connection and was heavily influenced by Lord Henry’s world view. He began to realize his beauty and fears it will fade one day. Looking at the beautiful portrait of himself, he makes a wish for his youth to remain forever, and the picture shall age instead of him. After committing several mischiefs, the portrait begins to look crude and ugly and becomes Dorian’s biggest secret. When Basil confronts Dorian about his degrading reputation, Dorian shows Basil the picture and uncontrollably murders Basil in the room. 

“Ugliness that had once been hateful to him because it made things real, became dear to him now for that very reason. Ugliness was the one reality. The coarse brawl, the loathsome den, the crude violence of disordered life, the very illness of thief and outcast, were more vivid, in their intense actuality of impression, than all the gracious shares of art, the dreamy shadows of song. They were what he needed for forgetfulness.” (p. 103) 

 By being forced to confront reality, Dorian breaks his connection with the pleasure of youth and forgiven sin. This seems to suggest that the power of coarse ugliness overweighs beauty. I think everything could be counterproductive if it becomes too immense. Extreme beauty is ugliness.

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