Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. In revising the text the following year, Wilde included a preface, which serves as a useful explanation of his philosophy of art.
The purpose of art, according to this series of epigrams, is to have no purpose. The Victorians believed that art could be used as a tool for social education and moral enlightenment, as illustrated in works by writers such as Charles Dickens and George Gissing.
The aestheticism movement, of which Wilde was a major proponent, sought to free art from this responsibility. The aestheticists were motivated as much by a contempt for bourgeois morality—a sensibility embodied in Dorian Gray by Lord Henry, whose every word seems designed to shock the ethical certainties of the burgeoning middle class—as they were by the belief that art need not possess any other purpose than being beautiful.
That is, both the portrait and the French novel serve a purpose: Of course, one might consider that these breaches of aesthetic philosophy mold The Picture of Dorian Gray into something of a cautionary tale: If, as Dorian observes late in the novel, the imagination orders the chaos of life and invests it with meaning, then art, as the fruit of the imagination, cannot help but mean something.
Wilde may have succeeded in freeing his art from the confines of Victorian morality, but he has replaced it with a doctrine that is, in its own way, just as restrictive. The Supremacy of Youth and Beauty The first principle of aestheticism, the philosophy of art by which Oscar Wilde lived, is that art serves no other purpose than to offer beauty.
Throughout The Picture of Dorian Gray, beauty reigns. It is also a means of escaping the brutalities of the world: Dorian distances himself, not to mention his consciousness, from the horrors of his actions by devoting himself to the study of beautiful things—music, jewels, rare tapestries.
In a society that prizes beauty so highly, youth and physical attractiveness become valuable commodities. Lord Henry reminds Dorian of as much upon their first meeting, when he laments that Dorian will soon enough lose his most precious attributes.
For although beauty and youth remain of utmost importance at the end of the novel—the portrait is, after all, returned to its original form—the novel suggests that the price one must pay for them is exceedingly high.
Indeed, Dorian gives nothing less than his soul. The Superficial Nature of Society It is no surprise that a society that prizes beauty above all else is a society founded on a love of surfaces. What matters most to Dorian, Lord Henry, and the polite company they keep is not whether a man is good at heart but rather whether he is handsome.
As Dorian evolves into the realization of a type, the perfect blend of scholar and socialite, he experiences the freedom to abandon his morals without censure.Oscar Wilde prefaces his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, with a reflection on art, the artist, and the utility of both.
After careful scrutiny, he concludes: “All art is quite useless” (Wilde 4).
In this one sentence, Wilde encapsulates the complete principles of the Aesthetic Movement. The Picture of Dorian Gray study guide contains a biography of Oscar Wilde, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Dorian himself consciously bases his life and actions on a work of art: a book given to him by Lord Henry. of Oscar Wilde, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Picture of Dorian Gray e-text contains the full text of .
Oscar Wilde prefaces his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, with a reflection on art, the artist, and the utility of both. After careful scrutiny, he concludes: “All art is quite useless” (Wilde 4). Wilde worked at speed to produce an alternative, the first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
That he could do so in a few months reflects his need for cash (£ for the serial rights), but it was also a chance for him to draw together strands of his critical and political thinking and celebrate his infatuation with a young poet, John Gray.
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This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. In essence, three versions of the only novel by Oscar .