Indeed, it was very much about male relationships denied an expressive conduit by the unambiguous moral constructs of the time.
It has been a charming evening, and we must end it charmingly. There is some one [sic] at the club who wants immensely to know you […] He has already copied your neckties, and has begged me to introduce him to you. He is quite delightful […]. This impulse was understandably hamstrung by the impropriety that a direct, unfiltered, or otherwise overeager approach would constitute.
The club provided a formalized system with a standard of etiquette, a code of dress, and a threshold of social standing. By restricting and homogenizing the club population, flattering another member was simultaneously a safe form of acquiescence to social hierarchy and a roundabout self-affirmation. Only the club, its inhabitation delimited by space and time, allowed the voicing and embodiment of suppressed inner feelings. This situation differs obviously in many respects from the type of relationship encouraged between Dorian and his imitator: Lord Kelso does not directly interact with another man; the relationship is disparaging rather than complimentary; there is no homosexual undertone whatsoever.
However, both scenes reflect social situations with markedly Victorian character. In this latter instance, Lord Kelso exercises the power accorded to him by his status to try to thwart what he saw as an inappropriate relationship, this in defense of the social status quo, typifying both the indirect moralizing and the cultural hierarchy of Victorianism. Such chastisements could only be transient, lest they deter men from participating in club culture at all. The social indemnity of the club depended on toleration of departures from accepted behavior that would have been denounced outside its walls, even though open acknowledgement of this pretense would have certainly led to ostracization.
Club life is centered around this duality, the two halves of which constitute a hallmark phoniness or fakeness. Its members see themselves reflected in Dorian, and in him the dueling inclinations of sin the stain and purity its detergent that came to typify the Victorian moral struggle. The seeming contradiction between the desire to be seen and the need to be unseen is frustrating, unless two things are kept in mind: first, that contradiction is the cornerstone of club life, and second, that being seen and unseen are goals on different scales. Although Wilde presents this rather obviously, as the entire novel gainsays any relationship between morality and beauty, most instances that exemplify this point take place in clubs or in relation to club life.
A new external image of the Victorian male made to be praised by exclusively male contemporaries, the club stands in for morality where there is none to be found. This despairing soliloquy incorporates all of the elements that the novel has incubated in Dorian, but also in the club: beauty, presentational immaculacy, ugliness of character, and sociopolitical moralizing, all suffused with homo sexual overtones. However, even the unedited version lacks any description or lewd acknowledgment of homosexual acts or behaviors.
In other words, whereas mutually positive interactions between females are more ambiguously platonic or amorous and are less plagued by connotations of homosexuality, the same tenor of interaction between men can take forms that depend on, or conversely disavow, homophobia.
For Sedgwick, male homosociality holds across relationships with power dynamics and emotional valences as variable as friendship, companionship, and mentorship, yet the indispensable characteristic persists: male homosociality, which is not explicitly homosexual, is only and always the result of routing frustrated or thwarted desires through women as unwanted proxies in elaborately performative social behavior. The social affect of male homosociality differed substantially according to class.
According to this association of the elite and the homosocial, many features of male same-sex interactions prove irrelevant to the female members of the same social class. Social clubs were the forums for the exhibition of this supposed superiority, though the exclusivity of the clubs almost always depended on a wealthy membership who very likely shaped the club around their own predilections.
Pease tidily concludes that,. Characterizations of men like Dorian constitute the homosociality that the club institutionalizes, though they are not strictly reducible to it. Indeed, clubs define themselves against an element external to them. The creation by elite men of this class-linked homosocial theatre was most important to those who were tethered to conspicuous expressions of heterosexuality, much like the young men who were forming almost identical social organizations in lockstep on the other side of the Atlantic.
Princetonians founded their first six eating clubs between and , all of which still operate with a desirability of reputation generally in accordance with their date of incorporation. Dorian told me so afterwards. He, too, felt that we were destined to know each other. I remember her bringing me up to a truculent and red-faced old gentleman covered all over with orders and ribbons, and hissing into my ear, in a tragic whisper which must have been perfectly audible to everybody in the room, the most astounding details.
I simply fled. I like to find out people for myself. But Lady Brandon treats her guests exactly as an auctioneer treats his goods. She either explains them entirely away, or tells one everything about them except what one wants to know. You are hard on her, Harry! How could I admire her? But tell me, what did she say about Mr. Dorian Gray?
Quite forget what he does--afraid he-- doesn't do anything--oh, yes, plays the piano--or is it the violin, dear Mr. Thesaurus astounding: adj amazing, hissing: adj sibilant, sibilous, sibilatory; n whistling, heckling, miraculous, wonderful, incredible, tremendous, spectacular, sensational, scoffing, sibilance, taunts, sibilation, white noise; v fizzle.
Hallward shook his head. You like every one; that is to say, you are indifferent to every one. I make a great difference between people. I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool.
They are all men of some intellectual power, and consequently they all appreciate me. Is that very vain of me? I think it is rather vain. But according to your category I must be merely an acquaintance. A sort of brother, I suppose? I don't care for brothers. My elder brother won't die, and my younger brothers seem never to do anything else.
But I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves. I quite sympathize with the rage of the English democracy against what they call the vices of the upper orders.
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The masses feel that drunkenness, stupidity, and immorality should be their own special property, and that if any one of us makes an ass of himself, he is poaching on their preserves. When poor Southwark got into the divorce court, their indignation was quite magnificent. And yet I don't suppose that ten per cent of the proletariat live correctly. Thesaurus according: adj pursuant, consonant, hatred, war, dislike.
ANTONYMS: n friendship, friendliness, affinity, equal, agreeable, harmonious, conformable, consistent, love, kindness, affection, adoration, corresponding, respondent; adv amity, cooperation, goodwill. ANTONYMS: n enmity: n, v animosity; n righteousness, decency, piety, antagonism, animus, hostility, morality, restraint, honesty, good. Lord Henry stroked his pointed brown beard and tapped the toe of his patent-leather boot with a tasselled ebony cane. That is the second time you have made that observation.
If one puts forward an idea to a true Englishman--always a rash thing to do--he never dreams of considering whether the idea is right or wrong. The only thing he considers of any importance is whether one believes it oneself. Now, the value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it. Indeed, the probabilities are that the more insincere the man is, the more purely intellectual will the idea be, as in that case it will not be coloured by either his wants, his desires, or his prejudices.
However, I don't propose to discuss politics, sociology, or metaphysics with you. I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world. Tell me more about Mr. Dorian Gray. How often do you see him? I couldn't be happy if I didn't see him every day. He is absolutely necessary to me. I thought you would never care for anything but your art.
The first is the appearance of a new medium for art, and the second is the appearance of a new personality for art also. What the invention of oil-painting was to the Venetians, the face of Antinous was to late Greek sculpture, and the face of Dorian Gray will some day be to me. It is not merely that I paint from him, draw from him, sketch from him. Of course, I have done all that. But he is much more to me than a model or a sitter. I won't tell you that I am dissatisfied with what I have done of him, or that his beauty is such that art cannot express it. There is nothing that art cannot express, and I know that the work I have done, since I met Dorian Gray, is good work, is the best work of my life.
But in some curious way--I wonder will you understand me? I see things differently, I think of them differently. I can now recreate life in a way that was. Thesaurus dissatisfied: adj discontent, hypocritical, hollow, affected, empty, disgruntled, disappointed, put out, devious, dishonest, counterfeit, fraudulent. I forget; but it is what Dorian Gray has been to me. The merely visible presence of this lad--for he seems to me little more than a lad, though he is really over twenty-- his merely visible presence--ah! I wonder can you realize all that that means?
Unconsciously he defines for me the lines of a fresh school, a school that is to have in it all the passion of the romantic spirit, all the perfection of the spirit that is Greek. The harmony of soul and body-- how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void.
You remember that landscape of mine, for which Agnew offered me such a huge price but which I would not part with? It is one of the best things I have ever done. And why is it so? Because, while I was painting it, Dorian Gray sat beside me. Some subtle influence passed from him to me, and for the first time in my life I saw in the plain woodland the wonder I had always looked for and always missed. I must see Dorian Gray. After some time he came back.
You might see nothing in him. I see everything in him. He is never more present in my work than when no image of him is there. He is a suggestion, as I have said, of a new manner. I find him in the curves of certain lines, in the loveliness and subtleties of certain colours. He knows nothing about it. He shall never know anything about it. But the world might guess it, and I will not bare my soul to their shallow prying eyes.
My heart shall never be put under their microscope. There is too much of myself in the thing, Harry--too much of myself! They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions. Thesaurus basil: n common basil, herb, sheepskin, Ocimum, genus Ocimum, basan, aromatic plant. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what it is; and for that reason the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue. Tell me, is Dorian Gray very fond of you? Of course I flatter him dreadfully. I find a strange pleasure in saying things to him that I know I shall be sorry for having said. As a rule, he is charming to me, and we sit in the studio and talk of a thousand things. Now and then, however, he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real delight in giving me pain.
Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to some one who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a summer's day. It is a sad thing to think of, but there is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.
In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man-that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value. I think you will tire first, all the same. Some day you will look at your friend, and he will seem to you to be a little out of drawing, or you won't like his tone of colour, or something.
You will bitterly reproach him in your own heart, and seriously think that he has behaved very badly to you. The next time he calls, you will be perfectly cold and indifferent. It will be a great pity, for it will alter you. What you have told me is quite a romance, a romance of art one might call it, and the worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic.
Thesaurus bric-a-brac: n knickknack. ANTONYMS: n, tire: n, v bore, jade; adj, n, v fatigue; v praise; v commend, approve; n v exhaust, harass, fag, weary, wear, pall, prostrate; n tyre. As long as I live, the personality of Dorian Gray will dominate me. You can't feel what I feel. You change too often. Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies. There was a rustle of chirruping sparrows in the green lacquer leaves of the ivy, and the blue cloud-shadows chased themselves across the grass like swallows. How pleasant it was in the garden!
And how delightful other people's emotions were! One's own soul, and the passions of one's friends--those were the fascinating things in life. He pictured to himself with silent amusement the tedious luncheon that he had missed by staying so long with Basil Hallward. Had he gone to his aunt's, he would have been sure to have met Lord Goodbody there, and the whole conversation would have been about the feeding of the poor and the necessity for model lodging-houses.
Each class would have preached the importance of those virtues, for whose exercise there was no necessity in their own lives. The rich would have spoken on the value of thrift, and the idle grown eloquent over the dignity of labour. It was charming to have escaped all that! As he thought of his aunt, an idea seemed to strike him.
He turned to Hallward and said, "My dear fellow, I have just remembered. It was at my aunt, Lady Agatha's. She told me she had discovered a wonderful young man who was going to help her in the East End, and that his name was Dorian Gray. I am bound to state that she never told me he was good-looking. Women have no appreciation of good looks; at least, good women have not. She said that he was very earnest and had a beautiful nature.
I at once pictured to myself a creature with spectacles and lank. Thesaurus dainty: adj, v nice; adj, n, v delicacy; adj fastidious, savory, tasteful, squeamish, particular, mincing, refined; adj, n tidbit; n luxury. I wish I had known it was your friend.
Dorian Gray is in the studio, sir," said the butler, coming into the garden. The painter turned to his servant, who stood blinking in the sunlight. Gray to wait, Parker: I shall be in in a few moments. Then he looked at Lord Henry. Your aunt was quite right in what she said of him.
Don't spoil him. 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. Mind, Harry, I trust you.
Thesaurus blinking: adj flickering, bally, freckled: adj speckled, mottled, blooming; adj, n winking; n discolored, freckly, flecked, shimmer, blink, wink, twinkling, lentiginose, lentiginous, marked, blemished, pitted; v studded. He was seated at the piano, with his back to them, turning over the pages of a volume of Schumann's "Forest Scenes. They are perfectly charming. When he caught sight of Lord Henry, a faint blush coloured his cheeks for a moment, and he started up. I have just been telling him what a capital sitter you were, and now you have spoiled everything.
Gray," said Lord Henry, stepping forward and extending his hand. You are one of her favourites, and, I am afraid, one of her victims also. We were to have played a duet together-. Thesaurus blush: n, v glow, color; v redden, crimson; n red, bloom, rosiness, ruddiness, redness; adj bashful; adv blushingly. I don't know what she will say to me. I am far too frightened to call. She is quite devoted to you. And I don't think it really matters about your not being there. The audience probably thought it was a duet. When Aunt Agatha sits down to the piano, she makes quite enough noise for two people.
Yes, he was certainly wonderfully handsome, with his finely curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, his crisp gold hair. There was something in his face that made one trust him at once. All the candour of youth was there, as well as all youth's passionate purity. One felt that he had kept himself unspotted from the world. No wonder Basil Hallward worshipped him. Gray--far too charming. The painter had been busy mixing his colours and getting his brushes ready. He was looking worried, and when he heard Lord Henry's last remark, he glanced at him, hesitated for a moment, and then said, "Harry, I want to finish this picture to-day.
Would you think it awfully rude of me if I asked you to go away? I see that Basil is in one of his sulky moods, and I can't bear him when he sulks. Besides, I want you to tell me why I should not go in for philanthropy. It is so tedious a subject that one would have to talk seriously about it.
But I certainly shall not run away, now. Thesaurus candour: n candidness, frankness, forthrightness, fairness, rectitude, purity, straightforwardness, equity, truth, sincerity, simplicity. You don't really mind, Basil, do you? You have often told me that you liked your sitters to have some one to chat to. Dorian's whims are laws to everybody, except himself. I have promised to meet a man at the Orleans. Good-bye, Mr. Come and see me some afternoon in Curzon Street. I am nearly always at home at five o'clock. Write to me when you are coming.
I should be sorry to miss you. You never open your lips while you are painting, and it is horribly dull standing on a platform and trying to look pleasant. Ask him to stay. I insist upon it. I beg you to stay. Sit down again, Harry. And now, Dorian, get up on the platform, and don't move about too much, or pay any attention to what Lord Henry says.
He has a very bad influence over all his friends, with the single exception of myself. He was so unlike Basil. They made a delightful contrast. And he had such a beautiful voice. After a few moments he said to him, "Have you really a very bad influence, Lord Henry? As bad as Basil says? All influence is immoral--immoral from the scientific point of view. Thesaurus dais: n platform, podium, rostrum, stage, chair, pedestal, pulpit, seat, ambo, woolsack, estrade. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions.
His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly--that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race.
Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion--these are the two things that govern us. And yet--" "Just turn your head a little more to the right, Dorian, like a good boy," said the painter, deep in his work and conscious only that a look had come into the lad's face that he had never seen there before. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives.
We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification.
Dandies and Their Misogynistic Attitudes in Oscar Wilde's the Picture of Dorian Gray
Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain.
It is in the. Thesaurus beggar: n mendicant, mumper, disfigurement, gash, blow, buffet, pauper, tramp, sponger, joker, poor bruise, distortion, impairment, man, cadger, bloke; v beg, mayhem. You, Mr. Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you with terror, day-dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere memory might stain your cheek with shame--" "Stop!
I don't know what to say. There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don't speak. Let me think. Or, rather, let me try not to think. He was dimly conscious that entirely fresh influences were at work within him. Yet they seemed to him to have come really from himself. The few words that Basil's friend had said to him--words spoken by chance, no doubt, and with wilful paradox in them-- had touched some secret chord that had never been touched before, but that he felt was now vibrating and throbbing to curious pulses.
Music had troubled him many times. But music was not articulate. It was not a new world, but rather another chaos, that it created in us. Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute.
Was there anything so real as words? Yes; there had been things in his boyhood that he had not understood. He understood them now. Life suddenly became fiery-coloured to him. It seemed to him that he had been walking in fire. Why had he not known it? With his subtle smile, Lord Henry watched him. He knew the precise psychological moment when to say nothing. He felt intensely interested. He was amazed at the sudden impression that his words had produced, and, remembering a book that he had read when he was sixteen, a book which had revealed to him much that he had not known before, he wondered whether.
Thesaurus bewilder: v astound, amaze, puzzle, palely. Dorian Gray was passing through a similar experience. He had merely shot an arrow into the air. Had it hit the mark? How fascinating the lad was! Hallward painted away with that marvellous bold touch of his, that had the true refinement and perfect delicacy that in art, at any rate comes only from strength. He was unconscious of the silence. The air is stifling here.
When I am painting, I can't think of anything else. But you never sat better.
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You were perfectly still. And I have caught the effect I wanted-- the half-parted lips and the bright look in the eyes. I don't know what Harry has been saying to you, but he has certainly made you have the most wonderful expression. I suppose he has been paying you compliments. You mustn't believe a word that he says. Perhaps that is the reason that I don't believe anything he has told me. It is horribly hot in the studio. Basil, let us have something iced to drink, something with strawberries in it. Just touch the bell, and when Parker comes I will tell him what you want. I have got to work up this background, so I will join you later on.
Don't keep Dorian too long.
I have never been in better form for painting than I am to-day. This is going to be my masterpiece. It is my masterpiece as it stands. He came close to him and put his hand upon his shoulder. Thesaurus arrow: n missile, bolt, dart, barb, gun, spear, bullet, cursor; adj, n rocket; adj hydrargyrum, quicksilver. The lad started and drew back.
He was bareheaded, and the leaves had tossed his rebellious curls and tangled all their gilded threads. There was a look of fear in his eyes, such as people have when they are suddenly awakened. His finely chiselled nostrils quivered, and some hidden nerve shook the scarlet of his lips and left them trembling. You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know. He could not help liking the tall, graceful young man who was standing by him. His romantic, olivecoloured face and worn expression interested him. There was something in his low languid voice that was absolutely fascinating.
His cool, white, flowerlike hands, even, had a curious charm. They moved, as he spoke, like music, and seemed to have a language of their own. But he felt afraid of him, and ashamed of being afraid. Why had it been left for a stranger to reveal him to himself? He had known Basil Hallward for months, but the friendship between them had never altered him.
Suddenly there had come some one across his life who seemed to have disclosed to him life's mystery. And, yet, what was there to be afraid of? He was not a schoolboy or a girl. It was absurd to be frightened. You really must not allow yourself to become sunburnt.
It would be unbecoming. Thesaurus awakened: adj excited, aroused, awakens, awoke, interested. Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon.
It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you. But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.
When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats. Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar.
These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. A new Hedonism-- that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do. The world belongs to you for a season. The following aspects will shed a light on how Dorian becomes conflicted with moral questions. At a certain point, he subconsciously begins to seek pleasure from his cruel actions. Wilde The only thing that illustrates the consequences physically is the portrait, which has altered.
Although he wished it to alter and age instead of him cf. Wilde 24 , he does not feel comfortable with it. By expressing his sorrows, one knows that he is indeed still questioning his attitude, and that there is a certain desire within for being good. Oscar Wilde himself lived two parallel lives. One the one hand, he was a married family man with two sons.
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On the other hand he used to live a decadent life with several male affairs. The fact, that he had a family and an outwardly idyllic life, shows that Wilde obeyed himself to society to some extent. Hence, it becomes evident that Wilde reflects upon his own inconsistency in The Picture of Dorian Gray. It is thought of Dorian Gray that a man who looks as innocent as him could commit any crime or immoral thing.
Kohl By confusing perfect beauty, which is art, with reality and the morals that apply for it, a misinterpretation of guilt is inevitable.
If a critic receives the novel as immoral, it is not the novel that ultimately is, but the criticism sheds much more light on the critic himself or herself. Dorian thus stands for two things. He is the representative of art in the beginning, innocent and beautiful. Oscar Wilde manages to rearrange the order of art and nature by giving the portrait its beauty back. Lord Henry Wotton, called Harry by his friends, is presented as the impersonation of a male chauvinist. He is a very sarcastic and influential character, whose words fascinate his fellowmen, especially Dorian.
His eloquence makes him very dominant; it even gives him the charisma of a mentor. Although his views and opinions stated give the impression that Harry might be malicious, there are no flaws in his actions. It is said about The Picture of Dorian Gray that "it approximates the novel Henry would write if he had the ambition" Oates He is a close friend to Basil Hallward and becomes friend with Dorian, after being astonished by his beauty.
How does it affect the society represented in the novel? Lord Henry warns that without an enthusiastic embrace of aestheticism, one will perpetually anguish with the desire of precisely what he must deny himself, all for the sake of propriety. Although Lord Henry is, alike many aesthetes, the perfect hedonist whose only purpose in life is to pursue more pleasure, regardless of the consequences.
His words even affect Dorian so much that it is fair enough to claim that Henry is at least to blame for moral complicity. Although he contributed to the Aesthetic Movement and was a decadent hedonist himself, he is clearly critical towards an exaggerated adaption of aesthetic values. Hence, with Lord Henry Wotton, Oscar Wilde created a character whose morality is virtually non-existent and whose function is ultimately the display of the consequences one has to face as an aesthete.
Not only was his art often criticised for spreading immodest ideas but also was he was found guilty for indecency due to his homosexuality. One can assume that during a time in which homosexual acts were indictable, it was difficult for Wilde to establish himself in society outside of his circle of artistically minded, dandy acquaintances. Basil Hallward There is yet one character, which is also to be analysed: Basil Hallward. Usually, he is the one who tries to recall ethics to his friends Harry and Dorian.
Besides, he is a rather introverted character, who does not like to be exposed, for instance, when he states that he would not exhibit the painting of Dorian, since he put too much of himself into it cf. Wilde 6. In the main, he functions as the moral, societal figure. He says what Victorian society would have said to Dorian and Henry, or more than that, what they thought about Oscar Wilde. Your influence would be bad. The world is wide, and has many marvelous people in it. Harry, I trust you. Wilde 15 As one can see, he feels a great admiration for Dorian, just as Oscar Wilde does by saying that he wishes to be like Dorian Gray at a younger age cf.
It is more than only the admiration for Dorian, but the fact that both, Oscar and Basil are artists. Wilde himself was indeed one of the men whose life was highly influenced by his artistic values. He himself might have put too much of himself in The Picture of Dorian Gray, similar to Basil who put too much of himself into his painting of Dorian. He hints at the threat this painting brings with it, and his concerns prove true, since Dorian senses a mode of invincibility due to the picture and hence sees no consequences in his actions.
Homoeroticism and Antifeminism The homoerotic element in The Picture of Dorian Gray is probably the most controversial and the most scandalous. First of all, it has to be said that there will not be found any direct homosexual action in the novel. It is more likely to believe that the homoerotic aspects, which will be depicted, caused many difficulties due to the fact that the author himself was infamous for his same sex affairs.
Oscar Wilde used to spend time with other dandies and younger men. Not only the relationship between men arouse this certain effect, but also the incidents concerning women. It is fair to say that the novel can be seen as a book that majorly concerns itself with male aesthetics, due to many degrading assertions towards women and the strong focus on male beauty.
Basil admires him so much that he draws a painting in such perfection that Dorian himself becomes jealous of its beauty. This aspect puts emphasis on how Basil regards Dorian as a physical ideal. In fact, it is also his youth which gives the artist an image of innocence, so that he does not see any harm or evil in his muse. As already mentioned, the question of interpretation is highly ambiguous. Instead, it is the author who depicts his view on sexuality, attraction, and in some cases on love. Oscar Wilde used to spend a lot of time with young male prostitutes and many of his affairs were much younger than him: The characterization of Wilde as a father-usurper offers an explanation for why age became such an important factor in the trials.
By foregrounding the generational disparity between Wilde, Douglas, and the lower-class boys, the court could effectively accuse Wilde of attempting to pervert […] the paternity of several working-class men […]. The fact that Dorian Gray is an orphan, who lived with his detested rich grandfather Lord Kelso, makes the idea of a father-son relationship more accessible. Especially, when it comes to their last conversation, Basil shows how worried he is about Dorian and he gives him advices to go the right path.
Apparently, Basil is confused about his feelings due to his blindness for any corruption in a beautiful object. On the one hand, he senses the need of moral help from his younger companion, and on the other hand he is simply attracted to him in a very intense way. Tragically, it is his love for Dorian that kills him, since Dorian believes that the picture, hence the artist, is responsible for his moral failure cf. Something similar happens to Oscar Wilde. Letters prove that he cared a lot about his affair Lord Alfred Douglas, called Bosie, and wanted him to find a way out of his aimless life cf.
Despite all that, there is a paradox in this parallel which, concluding is perfectly explained in the novel itself: Basil stirbt durch die Hand seines Idols, Wildes Passion verstrickt ihn in Verwicklungen, deren destruktive Kraft ihn letztlich in den Abgrund ziehen wird. Essential matters and interesting, formative conversations never occur with them. The only worth mentioning woman in the novel is Sybil Vane. Dorian falls in love with the young actress and aims to marry her. Under the influence of Lord Henry, he despises her, leaves her and causes her suicide. Those views show how disapproving the protagonists are of women.
What did motivate the author to constellate a community in which the opposite gender is solely defamed? In terms of Oscar Wilde, it was never a secret that he was gay. Nevertheless, he married Constance Wilde in cf. Adut