Dorian Gray Essay Beauty
is a story about a youth whose beauty is unaffected by age or corruption since his soul is placed in his portrait.
The cleavage of this dual nature in Dorian Gray deepens as he interacts with Basil Hallward, and Lord Henry ‘Harry’ Wotton, thereby showing their male homo-social world.
Like Lord Henry’s close connection with Dorian, homosexuality, or a homosocial tie, is often misunderstood to be “immoral”, but by showing that Basil could have reformed Dorian – if he was not killed, Wilde is able to show that a homosexual subject can be positive, and can produce real beauty.
Basil and Lord Henry are in rivalry to gain Dorian’s attention. When I like people immensely I never tell their names to any one. Basil seems to worry about Lord Henry’s interest in Dorian because Basil wants to monopolise Dorian as his motivation of art. However, importantly, Basil also sees Dorian’s innocent ‘soul’. When you were away from me you were still present in my art.Wilde depicts his protagonist as a willing lover who intends to start a serious heterosexual relationship.However, Lord Henry’s “influence” (18) seems to be at work, and Dorian cannot seem to feel for women as human beings. When Sibyl dies, for example, Lord Henry gives a remark that represents his critical attitude toward heterosexual marriage.As Dorian sees the portrait of himself, he realizes how bright and beautiful his youthfulness is. In this novel, Wilde uses the term ‘beauty’ in two different senses: the outer beauty or a pleasure is contrasted with the inner beauty of the soul achieved through suffering, and self-development.He wishes to preserve his precious boyhood forever: How sad it is! There are two parallel worlds in the novel, heterosexual and homosexual/social.The story tells readers about its protagonist, Dorian Gray’s life, which was full of immorality and corruption as a result of seeking outward beauty and pleasure.Dorian Gray destroys his life by seeking only “the beauty of the body” and ends up with “the corruption of the soul” (Douglas 273).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.Dorian meets those beautiful ladies and spends passionate time together, however, when they lose their value as “beautiful objects”, Dorian suddenly loses his interest and abandons them.His belief in art for art’s sake—or “Hedonism” (22) is sharply contrasted with the conventional, ordinary marriage with a woman: “If you had married this girl [Sibyl] you would have been wretched” (85).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.