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The Picture of Dorian Gray

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/doriangray/ DANGER To add quotes and aphorisms, a scheme for the relationships, images
by

Ilaria Menegatti

on 4 May 2015

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Transcript of The Picture of Dorian Gray

About the author, Oscar Wilde
Plot
Characters
Themes
Vanity: Youth & Beauty
Conclusion
Introduction to the novel
Text Analysis
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

- The painter Basil Hallward portrays the beautiful and pure Dorian Gray
- Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, who convices him that beauty and youth are the highest aspects of life; he exercises bad influence on him
- Dorian's deal with the devil and his ethical and moral transformation
- The talented young actress Sybil Vane, who falls in love with Dorian; her suicide, caused by him
- The revelation of truth about Dorian's nature; Dorian kills Basil
- Dorian visits an opium den where he meets James, Sybil's brother
- The young man, full of fear and despair, destroys the portrait, commiting suicide
- He is the painter who portrays Dorian
- Optimistic
- Pure values: Beauty, Truth and Love
- The moral center of the novel and he has good influence on Dorian
- Opposed to Lord Henry Watton
- His "idolatry" for Dorian Gray
Basil Hallward
Dorian Gray
Lord Henry Wotton
Sibyl and James Vane
"Don't try to influence him. Your influence would be bad. The world is wide, and has many marvellous people in it. Don't take away from me the one person who gives to my art whatever charm it possesses: my life as an artist depends on him."
Overreaching &
"the double"
The purpose of art
The overreacher is someone who tries to exceed his own limitations, someone who wants the control
over life and death
Dorian wants eternal beauty
Through the deal with Devil
Themes also present in "Doctor Faustus" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
The overreaching provokes the division of Dorian's soul:
there is the naive innocent Dorian and the selfish and corrupt Dorian.

This duel personality can be expressed by
the colour GRAY
, because it represents the mix of good and evil.
"To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.
It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances."
date: 1891
1st VERSION
Magazine edition written for the Lippincott's Monthly Magazine;
it contains all of the opposing morals of Victorian England:
low tolerence of crime
homosexuality
the code of conduct is lost (Decadent pursuits)
It is a scandal! "
unclean
", "
effeminate
", "
contaminating
"
She represents:
-innocence
-beauty and youth
-tenderness
2nd VERSION
Wilde edited the novel, obscuring the condemned parts;
he also added a
preface
, an aesthetic apologia
He represents:
- the working class
-revenge (for his adored sister's death)
She is:
- an actress of theatre
-poor
-lives in London with her family
She meets Dorian and falls in love with him
He is:
-Sibyl's brother
-a sailor
He travels most of the time because of his work
"What do you want?" he gasped.

"Keep quiet," said the man. "If you stir, I shoot you."

"You are mad. What have I done to you?"

"You wrecked the life of Sibyl Vane," was the answer, "and Sibyl Vane was my sister. She killed herself. I know it. Her death is at your door. I swore I would kill you in return. For years I have sought you. I had no clue, no trace. The two people who could have described you were dead. I knew nothing of you but the pet name she used to call you. I heard it to-night by chance. Make your peace with God, for to-night you are going to die." (chap. 16)
You had brought me something higher, something of which all art is but a reflection. You had made me understand what love really is. My love! My love! Prince Charming! Prince of life! I have grown sick of shadows. You are more to me than all art can ever be. What have I to do with the puppets of a play? When I came on to-night, I could not understand how it was that everything had gone from me. I thought that I was going to be wonderful. I found that I could do nothing. Suddenly it dawned on my soul what it all meant. The knowledge was exquisite to me. I heard them hissing, and I smiled. What could they know of love such as ours? Take me away, Dorian--take me away with you, where we can be quite alone. I hate the stage. I might mimic a passion that I do not feel, but I cannot mimic one that burns me like fire. Oh, Dorian, Dorian, you understand now what it signifies? Even if I could do it, it would be profanation for me to play at being in love. You have made me see that." (chap. 7)
genre: PHILOSOPHICAL NOVEL
narrator: OMNISCENT
writing style: TECHNIQUE OF DRAMA
Basil's friend
aristocrat and decadent dandy
hedonist = search and adoration of beauty
he has a bad influence on Dorian, he wants him to be his ultimate creation (forbidden pleasures + extreme beauty)
his libertine world view corrupts Dorian
MAIN INFORMATION
“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul”
" To them he seemed to be of the company of those whom Dante describe as having sought to “make themselves perfect by the worship of beauty”
He is the main character of the novel.
He is a young men, whose beauty fascinates the painter Basil Hallward.
He lives only for pleasure making use of everybody and letting people die because of his insensitivity.
At the moment of his death the picture returns to its original purity, and Dorian's face becomes "
withered, wrinkled, and loathsome".
set in: LONDON, VICTORIAN AGE
1854-1900
He was born in Dublin.
While at Oxford, he was deeply influenced by the aesthetic theories.
He pursued beauty in all its forms.
He was considered as a wit, a brilliant conversationalist and an eccentric man.
He was sentenced to two years of imprisonment and hard labour after having been accused of homosexuality.
"It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors"
The Victorians believed that art could be used as a tool for social education and moral enlightenment.
The purpose of art, according to the preface, is to have no purpose.
Lord Henry instilles in Dorian the sense of the preciousness of his beauty
The aestheticism movement, of which Wilde was a major proponent, wanted to free art from this responsibility.
Symbols
The Portrait
The Yellow Book
The Opium Dens
Dorian becomes self-obsessed, all of his actions are motivated by vanity
throughout the novel, vanity haunts Dorian: vanity it's his original sin
The book is sent from Lord Henry to Dorian in order to amuse him after the suicide of Sibyl Vane.
It is understood to be "
A Rebour",
a representative work of Parisian decadence that heavily influenced British aesthetes.
The book is sent from Lord Henry to Dorian in order to amuse him after the suicide of Sibyl Vane.
consumed by fear of his fading young beauty, Dorian does whatever is necessary to avoid it
Lord Henry claims to value youth and beauty above all else;
he also thinks that art serves no other purpose to offer beauty
that is the reason why he makes the wish that ultimately damns him
Dorian values his physical appearance more than the state of his soul
"All art is quite useless"
An opium den was an establishment where opium was sold and smoked; the one of the book is located in a remote section of London
Dorian visits the opium dens of London when indulging in the pleasures of life whether moral or immoral
It represents the vicious state of Dorian's mind, it reflects the degradation of his soul
"That is old in the history of literature,
but to which I have given a new form"
Hedonism
Dandyism
Historical reference
Place
It is an ugly portrait of Dorian
It represents all protagonist's pleasures, sins
It was painted by Basil Hallward
It is an allegory of the dark side of his personality
Dorian's Hedonism (p.E118-119 Vol.C)
DECADENCE and AESTHETICISM
Aestheticism:

Artistic and literary movement
EARLY 19th century
Influence in Western Europe
It puts in result the SENSES
Decadent Movement:

Artistic and literary movement
LATE 19th century
Influence in Western Europe
It is an "exaggerated" consequence to the Aesthetism

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. (Ch. 2, Lord Henry)
the purpose of the new Hedonism
How Oscar Wilde reacted to the critics
Dorian Gray "contains much of me": Basil Hallward is "what I think I am," Lord Henry "what the world thinks me," and "Dorian what I would like to be--in other ages, perhaps."
-O.Wilde-
“There were opium-dens, where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.”
Dorian Gray
Basil Hallward
Lord Henry
His ambiguity
authentic personality
how strict Victorian Age saw him
Full transcript