The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lord Henry

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The diction of this book, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is very formal. Words he uses throughout the novel like, “upon” and “Desire” show that formality. The formality of the words makes the novel seem serious The language through is very strong, Wilde uses many harsh sounding words that contribute to the overall theme of negative consequences of influences and the supremacy of youth and beauty. From the diction we the readers can get the idea that Wilde was a very educated man. From character to character, the dialogue is very different. While Lord Henry is very proper and he uses very intellectual language, Basil is almost opposite of that. Most of the book is in dialect and that contributes to the theme because through Lord Henry’s and Dorian’s conversations we can see how Dorian is affected by him. Passage One:

“No, you don’t feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkles and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with its hideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly. Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so?. . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don’t frown. You have. And beauty is a form of Genius-is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right to sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won’t smile. . . . People say sometimes that Beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as Thought is (24-25)”

This passage from the novel really shows through diction, the theme of negative consequences of influences. It is a foreshadowing of the negative effects that Lord Henry’s influences will have on Dorian through the book. The words...
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