Dorian Gray Ambiguous Characters

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AP Lit Essay
Prompt option #1

In Oscar Wilde’s novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” one of the main characters Lord Henry Wotton is portrayed, as morally ambiguous. Wilde reveals Lord Henry’s ambiguous character through the way he talks, he has a more charming tone to him, but he leads a conversation in such a seducing way Dorian falls under his spell so fast. Lord Henry’s ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole because without Henry would Dorian of taken the same path that he took? Yes, in a way a lot of Henry’s words are open for interpretation, but he is the one who provoked Dorian to even have those ideas. Lord Henry Wotton doesn’t really change at all throughout the novel, where Basil and Dorian almost change completely. Dorian goes from having such innocence and beauty to almost being lost in the idea of maintaining his youth an beauty. When Dorian does commit a lot of the evil things he does, the question is did Lord Henry actually tell Dorian to do them? A lot of Lord Henry’s words are open for interpretation and almost contradict each other. Therefore, Dorian who interpreted them that way doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what Lord Henry had in mind.

Lord Henry practically advocates Dorian to pursue new experiences that are both good and evil. Another factor that prevents Lord Henry being viewed as simply evil is that he is the best friend of the protagonist. Lord Henry takes Dorian under his wings and educates him in the world that he lives in. Due to this, Lord Henry most of the time is viewed more as simply the one who opened Dorian’s eyes to the world around him, and not corrupting him. Unlike Dorian, Lord Henry leads no one to commit suicide. If this were to happen the reader would quickly turn against Lord Henry. But, since Dorian is the protagonist it is hard to view him as simply evil also. The painting and the yellow book have a profound effect on Dorian, influencing him to predominantly immoral behavior over the course of...
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