Power of Youth and Beauty

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 196
  • Published : March 15, 2006
Open Document
Text Preview
Darsielle Hayes
Eng 202B

Power of Youth and Beauty

Some say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Others say that it(beauty) is only skin deep. A person that is considered to have overwhelming beauty can commit a heinous crime and be forgiven because they have such beauty. In a society that puts beauty on a pedestal, youth and physical attractiveness become valuable possessions. Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, prove all of these things to be true. Throughout this novel beauty reigns, it revitalizes the wearied senses. Beauty can be used to escape the brutalities of the world. One person's beauty can mask the ugliness they possess inside from the outside world.

Basil Hallward is a painter who at one point was struggling with his pieces, but when he met Dorian everything changed. Basil started painting beautiful masterpieces because of his fascination with Dorian. There is one piece in this book that in some way becomes a character and that is the self portrait of Dorian. Basil's good friend Lord Henry comes to visit and sees the incredible painting. He tells Basil that he should exhibit it, but Basil refuses because he says he put too much of himself into the portrait. Lord Henry refers to Dorian as a young Adonis, who in Greek mythology was known for his beauty.

"Dorian Gray's good looks-we shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly" (Wilde3). Some people use their beauty as a weapon and it can be a deadly one. This quote will play a major role in this book and this paper. Basil already knows that Dorian's beauty will cause problems. Basil and Lord Henry have different beliefs about beauty. Lord Henry thinks that beauty is one of the most important things in the world, but Basil on the other hand appreciates Dorian's beauty but feels in order to be beautiful one would have to pay a price.

Lord Henry is fascinated by Dorian's beauty also. Dorian was supposed to meet with Lord Henry's aunt but forgot all about it. Lord Henry tells Dorian not to worry about it because his aunt is captivated by his beauty. This is the first part in the book where it shows how one's beauty can make another forgive them for their actions. Lord Henry is so fascinated with Dorian to the point that it is impossible to see any evil in him because he has such beauty. Lord Henry is the first to let Dorian know that beauty can help him get things in life and also that it fades with age. "It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But . . . it is better to be good than to be ugly" (Wilde143). Dorian realizes his own beauty when Basil finishes the painting and lets him see it.

Once Dorian sees the painting and thinks about what Lord Henry has said, he wishes that he would stay young and the picture would grow old. Lord Henry makes Dorian think that beauty is everything, and when Dorian looks at this picture, he thinks that beauty is the most important thing he has. Dorian's beauty becomes more important to him than his soul, "If it only it could be the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! There is nothing in the world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!" (Wilde19).

Beauty and Dorian are connected when he looks at his portrait. He sees the effects of age that Lord Henry expressed to him. Dorian's cruelty has had an effect on the painting and he realizes that the painting looks less beautiful because of it. Wilde says that the painting is a mirror of Dorian's soul, everything that Dorian does will be reflected in this picture. Basil's art will bear the sins of Dorian's age. Dorian's portrait loses all of its innocence and begins to look vicious. Dorian is getting a look at his own soul. Since Dorian's outside appearance still holds his innocence, people have a hard time believing the stories about his bad habits.

Once Dorian learns that he does not have...
tracking img