Influences of and on Dorian Gray

Essay by gingitgirlHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2007

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In Oscar Wilde's "A Picture of Dorian Gray", Lord Henry is introduced to both Dorian and the reader as a man who loves to share his ideas with the world. Basil immediately has to worry that Lord Henry is going to influence Dorian in a negative way, and it soon becomes clear that Basil's fears are well founded. Lord Henry and Dorian quickly become good friends, and when Dorian is in need of advice, he immediately goes to Lord Henry. Lord Henry, through his "sage" words of advice, is able to convince Dorian of some horrible life lessons, such as an inability to see beyond the exterior, a constant need for and an obsession with drama, and a lack of love and faith. This new outlook on life, provided by Lord Henry, is to blame for the horrifying and drastic turn Dorian Gray's life takes.

When Lord Henry meets Dorian Gray, he is introduced to a man who has always gotten what he wanted.

Dorian's charismatic persona and handsomeness guarantee that he can essentially have anything and everything, as everyone in his life affords him constant pampering and public adoration, especially Basil. Lord Henry, while talking to Dorian after Sybil's death, says that "People like you--the willful sunbeams of life--don't commit crimes" (p.51). Lord Henry is essentially telling Dorian that his good looks makes it impossible for him to commit a crime, because if he was to commit a crime, the evil in his soul would leak onto his physical appearance, and his guilt would therefore be apparent to all. When Dorian finds out that his painting takes on these evil qualities and he continues to be pristine, he uses this knowledge, given to him by Lord Henry, to realize that he could commit any crime and never...