Dorian Grey's Reaction to the Change in the Painting

Topics: Oscar Wilde, Anxiety, The Picture of Dorian Gray Pages: 4 (1666 words) Published: May 4, 2012
In “The Picture of Dorian Grey” by Oscar Wilde, Dorian has a profound reaction each time he views the change in the painting, and he reacts with a self-pitying, vain attitude. Vanity haunts Dorian, and he cares only about how this change in the painting will affect himself and his outer beauty only. At first, Dorian worries about how his treatment of Sibyl Vane will affect the painting. He cares not about the cruel acts he committed, but rather dwells on how it will taint or tarnish the beauty of his portrait. (“A sense of infinite pity, not for himself, but for the painted image of himself, came over him. It had altered already, and would alter more. Its gold would wither into grey. Its red and white roses would die. For every sin that he committed, a stain would fleck and wreck its fairness. But he would not sin.” - Chapter 7) The change Dorian views on his painting does not make him regret his cruel treatment of Sibyl, or pity the girl. On the contrary, he pities the painted portrait of himself. His vanity consumes him, and he becomes obsessed with the notion that the painting will soon lose its beauty if he would continue to commit sins. He then decides to change his ways, and no longer sin. He vows to return to Sibyl and rekindle their love. However, he vows to do so in vanity, rather than to become a better man. His unwillingness to watch the exquisite portrait succumb to degradation is the only reason behind his decision to return to Sibyl, which he considers the honorable action to take. He is scared that the painting and his soul would be destroyed if he does not do so, and therefore, in a vain effort to save their beauty, promises to make amends. However, upon waking up the next morning and viewing the painting, he becomes very worried that his actions had indeed been cruel. He reacts to this realization by writing a letter to Sibyl. (“Finally, he went over to the table and wrote a passionate letter to the girl he had loved, imploring her forgiveness...
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