The Picture of Dorian Gray
The author, Oscar Wilde was born, 1854, in Ireland and his work is seen as a critique of the late Victorian’s society, prudish status quo. The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel that he has written and has been edited several times because of its inappropriate (at the time) explicit nature. It was first published in 1890.
The title “The picture of Dorian Gray” is a one phrase summary of the story and hints at who the protagonist is as well as to what is particular to the story.
The novel evokes and explores several themes including the pursuit of Beauty and pleasure as well as homoeroticism. Considering the time in which the story was written, we can consider this piece to be one among the first to be so direct (so to speak) about homoeroticism. However, Wilde does not explicitly describes any homosexual activities in the novel, but they are references that can be interpreted that way, for example, Dorian’s “friendship is so fatal to young men” and only destroys these men when he becomes “intimate” with them.
The novel has influences from Shakespeare (Sybil vane, the first woman Dorian falls in love with is an actress always rehearsing for Shakespearian plays and hoped to be is his real Juliet). Also, Faust who was a writer whose work affected quite a few novelists. Wilde draws his stories general idea from that of Faust, the pattern that unfolds is that of a young man who yields to temptation presented by a sinister character (in this story Lord Henry, in Faust’s the devil himself) and is met with untimely death
The story is written in the third person narrator. Wilde’s use of language is not to describe what is happening in the story, but rather helps to construe it: “He remembered how pleased he used to be when he was pointed out…he was tired of hearing his own name now” this phrase, is a way for Wilde to reinforce the growing feelings of regret an repentance Dorian feels, be they real or...