Immortality: After having his soul trapped within a painting, Dorian gained immortality. He does not age and seems to be immune to all conventional illnesses, diseases, viruses and infections.
T he Picture of Dorian Gray is a story about a youth whose beauty is unaffected by age or corruption Why does Dorian Gray not age? his soul is placed in his portrait. The story starts with a meeting between Basil Hallward and Lord Henry where they talk about the extraordinary beautiful youth Dorian Gray.
As Dorian sees the portrait of himself, he realizes how bright and beautiful his youthfulness is. He wishes to preserve his precious boyhood forever: How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young.
It will never be older … If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that — for that — I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that! This essay will try to show how Wilde explores the meaning of Why does Dorian Gray not age? through comparing these two worlds. This novel presents a world of heterosexual love of Dorian Gray, first, with Sibyl Vane and then with Hetty Merton through the critical eyes of Lord Henry.
His malicious behaviours cause the stunning portrait change to a hideous facial expression by showing his immoralities. Wilde depicts his protagonist as a willing lover who intends to start a serious heterosexual relationship.
He sees them as objects of art. When Sibyl dies, for example, Lord Henry gives a remark that represents his critical attitude toward heterosexual marriage. Of course, Wilde does not eulogise the immoral, corrupting influence of Lord Henry, but at the same time, he does problematise the heterosexual institution by making Dorian question marriage, the very symbol of heterosexuality.
Here be dragons...
By representing heterosexual marriage as Why does Dorian Gray not age? and commonplace, Wilde is, consciously or unconsciously, negating the social convention.
While negative remarks about heterosexual alliance can be seen throughout the story, the relationships is deeply suggestive of homosexuality, namely, between three characters, Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward, and Lord Henry Wotton are Why does Dorian Gray not age?
into two interpretations. The novel presents the reader with these two opposed values. We could read this novel as a statement that true beauty exists, but can be corrupted by immoral influences.
The main character, Dorian Gray, is based on an actual person John Gray who was a lover of Oscar Wilde around the time the novel was published. Although Wilde could get any boy he was interested in, Gray was an exception.
He did not show his interest in Wilde at first, therefore Wilde had to wait in anguish. Therefore, the title of this novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, already suggests that the story contains homosexual meanings.
On the other hand, the other two characters, Basil and Lord Henry, are said to be modelled on the author, Oscar Wilde himself. Because of his aesthetic taste and flamboyant style, people often consider Wilde as a pleasure-seeking type of person such as Dorian or Lord Henry. Basil uses his artistic talent, and Lord Henry uses his beautiful voice and intelligence.
Both men are fascinated by the beauty of this extraordinary Dorian Gray, and they try to be intimate with the youth as much as possible. From the beginning of the story, the talented painter Basil Hallward already admires Dorian Gray and paints his portrait.
Basil hesitates to introduce Dorian to Lord Henry. When I like people immensely I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. He needs no one but Dorian to create his art. Thus he tries to avoid all the influence from outside, including his friend Lord Henry. In the middle of the story, the most affectionate lines of Basil appear. In that scene, Basil desires to see his masterpiece once again because it has already been sent to Dorian, though Dorian refuses the wish.
However, Dorian offers that if Basil could tell him his secret he used to mention sometimes, he would show him the portrait. These lines about the secret of Basil are the most obvious and important evidence which relate to the theme of homosexuality in The Picture of Dorian Gray: Dorian, from the moment I met you, Why does Dorian Gray not age? personality had the most extraordinary influence over me.
Sybil Vane Character Analysis in The Picture of Dorian Gray
I was dominated, soul, brain, and power by you … I worshipped you. I grew jealous of every one to whom you spoke. I wanted to have you all to myself. I was only happy when I was with you. When you were away from me you were still present in my art.
Basil hesitates to tell his own feeling to Dorian because he might be offended and their intimacy would be over. However, Basil has the courage to tell the truth, and he somehow gets relieved from his secret love for Dorian by telling him his affection.
In addition to this, in the 1890 version of the story, there are few more lines before the quote above. Lord Henry has a huge influence on Dorian, and their psychological bond grows stronger as the story moves forward. Thus, in the end, he is not the innocent youth anymore whose soul charms anyone. Basil mourns about this fact: Dorian, this is horrible!
Something has changed you completely. You look exactly the same wonderful boy who, day after day, used to come down to my studio to sit for his picture. But Why does Dorian Gray not age? were simple, natural, and affectionate then. You were the most unspoiled creature in the whole world. You talk as if you had no heart, no pity in you. The thing human beings must admire is not just their desire, but their innocent soul and inner nature.
The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde. The New Yorker 8 Aug. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. The Picture of Dorian Gray A Norton Critical Edition. London and New York: W.