Oscar Wilde’s novel, ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ has captivated readers for more than a century now.
The novel is a riveting narrative which revolves around the life of Dorian Gray and his struggles with external compulsion and internal impulses.
It can be read as a study of vanity and a catechism of hedonism, carefully crafted by Wilde in the age of Victorian morality.
The story begins with an introduction to the character of Dorian, as he is painted a picture by his friend, Basil Hallward.
As the novel progresses, Dorian’s beauty becomes the object of adoration for many admirers and this brings forth the idea that Dorian’s beauty can be his downfall.
The novel is riddled with themes of vanity, beauty, morals, and religion.
Dorian’s story deeply resonates with readers because it serves as an interesting outlook on the duality of human nature.
How far are we willing to go in our pursuit of pleasure and in the face of temptation?
What are the consequences of dedicating oneself purely to the gratification of one’s own desires?
Dorian’s character is multi-faceted and shows different aspects of humanity depending on the situation. He is portrayed as an innocent youth in one instance, as a cruel, passionate figure in another.
Heavy emphasis is put on his appearance and beauty, and Wilde’s style of writing successfully portrays Dorian as a character with unmatched vanity but also one with a wide-eyed innocence.
What adds to the allure of the novel is basil’s ardent admiration for the beauty of Dorian as he has found his art’s muse.
Thus, the novel serves as an exploration of art and its influence on those around it.
As readers, we find ourselves at the crossroads of moral values and the conflicting ideals of beauty and ugliness.
Wilde effectively portrays how beauty, morality and religion can have a profound effect on our lives as we strive for redemption and second chances.
He highlights the idea that our destinies are our own making and that nothing should stop us from making them our own.
Overall, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a masterful and detailed observation on the human condition. It captures the intricacies of society through Dorian’s journey of self-discovery and contrasts the effects of beauty and morality.
Wilde successfully subjects us to an experience of complexity with each page making it an unforgettable masterpiece.