In The Picture of Dorian Gray Lady Narborough remarks to Dorian ‘you are made to be good – you look so good’. Examine Wilde’s presentation of physical beauty versus goodness as the main theme of the novel in the light of this quotation.
Oscar Wilde’s presentation of physical beauty verses goodness can be examined through the quote “You are made to be good – you look so good”.
Throughout the novel the appearance of a character provides an insight into their social status and how they are accepted in society. As the protagonist, Dorian is introduced it is clear that he is gifted with extraordinary personal beauty. However this beauty also influences him to show vanity. Dorian’s Vanity soon corrupts him and he is left naïve and easily influenced because of his lust for beauty and youth.
When Basil talks of Dorian’s picture and says “I really can’t exhibit it. I have put too much of myself in it” shows how he expresses himself through his paintings. Basil also rejects the offer of going out with Dorian & Henry. This implies that his past experiences of going out may have been unkind to him and that he was not accepted in society. Basil has the appearance of a respectable, middle class society painter. As there was a huge social divide between people of different classes in the Victorian era this may explain why Basil did not connect with Dorian as well as Henry did.
Dorian’s appearance can even influence people to adore him. We see this through the way Lord Henry is mesmerised by his beauty. This is shown through his quote “You have a wonderfully beautiful face Mr Gray. And beauty is a form of genius”. This shows how Dorian’s appearance has impacted Henry’s feelings towards him and has controlled his mind into believing he is a genius. This relates with how Dorian’s beauty is often making him appear innocent therefore making people believe he would not be capable of behaving in such a corrupt fashion. This also may be because his face does not show the...
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