Portrait of Dorian Gray the Term Paper
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This literary parallel also underlined in the final description of the portrait of what Dorian Gray has become at the end of the book, Chapter 20: "The thing was still loathsome -- more loathsome, if possible, than before -- and the scarlet dew that spotted the hand seemed brighter, and more like blood newly spilled. Then he trembled. Had it been merely vanity that had made him do his one good deed? Or the desire for a new sensation, as Lord Henry had hinted, with his mocking laugh?"
Again, there is scarlet, but this is the scarlet of blood letting, not an innocent blush of the young Dorian's lips. Once again, at the words of Lord Henry, even the older and more jaded Dorian is moved to tremble. He blanches at the sight of the picture, but for a different reason, because he can see the monster he has become, rather than fears the passage of age as he did as a young man. His own portrait is described as loathsome, like a serpent, and the diction of the passage is Biblical and elevated, "the scarlet of blood," "desire," and "scarlet dew" as a euphemism for blood. Once again, the narrator has taken over from the dialogue-heavy pages that have preceded it, to inform the
reader with authority about the portentous nature of Dorian's crimes against humanity (murder) and against nature (not aging).
Lord Henry's words placed the seed of temptation and desire in Dorian's head, and caused Dorian not to look on the picture as a reflection, but to see the possibility of death. Henry planted knowledge in Dorian's brain, that all beauty must die, but this knowledge did not enlighten, rather it became a terrible burden for Dorian Gray and caused Gray to want to defy nature. Because of Henry's knowledge, Dorian becomes sinful in his knowledge and his awareness of his own beauty. Dorian takes advantage of his beauty, gained by seeing himself through Lord Henry's eyes and the eyes of an admiring artist, and uses his ageless beauty as a weapon against the world, until the instrument of this knowledge turns against the artist that created this awareness in the form of Basil. Then, finally the subject turns this awareness against himself, the object of Basil's talent.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Full e-text available 3 Nov 2007 at http://www.upword.com/wilde/dorgray.html#3
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