Dorian Gray and the Theme of Beauty

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Commonly deformity is symbolic… whether it represents the good and purity in someone or the corruption in their very soul is a different story. In the book, “Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, deformity is used to symbolize the corruption and degradation of Dorian’s soul. Dorian’s own beauty could be considered a deformity and this deformity destroyed Dorian’s life. He has an unnatural, surreal beauty and it’s this beauty that causes him to become so evil and corrupted. It’s the reason behind his madness. He actually traded his soul to keep his youth and beauty; “…If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that- for that- I would give everything! I would give my soul for that!” His beauty was so symbolic because it was pure, innocent and divine at the beginning of the novel yet it ended up causing the decay and destruction of a young man’s life. Though his looks should have been a gift it became a curse that corrupted his soul and destroyed his life. He became too obsessed with his looks and thus lost his soul. When Dorian saw the portrait painted he soon begins to loath it because “I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day in June… I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me.” He in turn wishes that he was to stay young and beautiful and the portrait was to show all the signs of aging and sin. This is the beginning of Dorian’s troubles. He goes through his life looking young and innocent but all the sins he commits shows on the canvas, “The terrible portrait whose changing features show him the real degradation of his life…He had a secret pleasure of the misshapen shadow that had to bear the burden that should’ve been his own.” Any time Dorian does something sinful, selfish, cruel, or falls to temptation it all shows up on the canvas to mar his idyllic beauty. “A sense of infinite pity, not for himself, but for the painted...
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