His curiosityof life strives him to explore these stages. Even till this day there areexamples of “Dorians” in our society. They believe they are living in an ageof continual crisis and are searching for ways to put meaning back to theirlives. At the beginning, Basil paints a portrait of Dorian Gray that people seeas an appreciation of Dorian’s beauty. Dorian is so pure and innocent-hedoesn’t know anything about the anxiety of life.
He has all the beauty of achild in him, but then Lord Henry enters into the picture with his influentialgoal for life and its meaning. “Don’t spoil him. Don’t try to influencehim. Your influence would be bad.
” Lord Henry taunts Dorian and continues toremind him of all the sin that is building up and that even though his body isnot aging, his soul is deteriorating fast. Lord Henry is the beginning of hiscorruption, but he isn’t the entire reason for this development. SibylVane’s death happened on the verge of his transformation. She is the entireinnocence, beauty, and purity that are in him. When she dies, she takes hiswhole childhood away.
He feels empty without his innocence and he filled thisemptiness by answering to his corrupted transformation. It is after her deaththat he recognizes his sins-he realizes how horrible he had treated her on thenight she confesses her undying love for him. The most important thing is thatit is his choice to go along with Lord Henry and his luring thoughts. From thispoint on, he starts ruining his life and soul. He gets a bad reputation insociety, murders Basil, and starts taking opium.
Even his last hope forsalvation-Hetty-doesn’t save his soul from the shadow, which has suppressedall that is shameful in his life. As a result, he stabs the painting. Thepainting is all of Dorian’s hate, fear, and sadness reduced onto a canvass. Hegives up his soul over his body, and ends up losing it all.
His body is only ashell that protects him from showing his shameful self. His shell is hissuperficial self; it is the soul underneath this shell that he finds his trueself. Without his soul, he has nothing and no meaning in life. The value of truebeauty relates to both the novel and the 19th century. In the novel, Oscar Wildeemphasizes on the value of beauty.
“Beauty is a form of Genius-is higher,indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. ” However, both Dorian and the19th century lack true beauty. Dorian Gray “sold himself to the devil for apretty face”. They’re both empty on the inside, with no religion at all,which leads to Nietzsche and his philosophy that “God is dead”. In thenovel, Basil acts as God, Lord Henry as Nietzsche, and Dorian as the 19thcentury.
During the Renaissance, people used to be really faithful to God likeDorian and Basil used to be friends. Then, along came Lord Henry who influencesus with his corrupted thoughts. Eventually, we lose our image of God and even”kill him”. We cover this emptiness with a thin superficial shield. Personalities like Dorian are seen in our society today. Modern Dorians might beslightly different, but they all value beauty.
Movie stars are all examples ofmodern Dorians. They take advantage of their appearances-you don’t usually seeugly people in movies do you? Most of us know their them as their superficialself but not who they really are. Models nowadays start working when they’resixteen and when they reach their late twenties, they’re forced to quit. Theyare treated like little toys that entertain us the first few weeks when it’sout but when it gets old we don’t even bother to look at it. Women wearshoulder pads to look more masculine and confident. We care so much about imageand we always treat people according to who they are and what they look like.
Lots of the students in school attend classes, complete their homework, orparticipate in class because of their grades and only for their grades. Theydon’t care what we’ve learned. That’s exactly like Dorian, looking goodwith the good grades but never really adding any knowledge inside. With our highA. Q.
, we are always reaching for the top and experiencing change and growth. Weare always willing to reach for the top and always have the desire to be betterthan others are. False beauty is expressed many times throughout the century. Italways overcomes us and we lose sense of our true beauty or even worst, oursoul.
We can’t always blame ourselves for desiring to choose our bodies overour souls. One of the biggest reasons for the outcome of “modern Dorians” isbecause of our expectations as a society. We expect so much of people that wesometimes change to meet others’ or even our own expectations.