The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Essay by IcetyphoonHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2008

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Say, on a particular day, a good friend asks of one to perform an unmentionable immoral action on his or her behalf; should one accept? An internal conflict will arise from the risk of sacrificing a relationship for one's moral's and values. Such an internal conflict is depicted in The Picture of Dorian Gary, a novel by Oscar Wilde, where the protagonist is of two minds between his friends, Basil and Lord Henry, good and evil, and pursuit of worldly pleasures and evil ultimately leaves Dorian unsatisfied.

Basil, a very intimate friend of Dorian, symbolizes the good and the virtuous in Dorian by association. This painter was acquainted with Dorian at the beginning of the book when Dorian was pure and untouched by Henry's influence. His affection for Dorian was as a parent would love a child: innocent and unconditional. Before his death, Basil appeared to Dorian and begged him to repent to God after learning the secret of the portrait.

Through the entire novel Basil played the good man who not only tried to protect Dorian from Lord Henry's influence but also symbolized moral obligations which Dorian should follow.

While Basil sits on the right end of the spectrum, Lord Henry sits on the very far radical left. As a negative role model for Dorian, Lord Henry represents evil and all that which is tainted. Like Satan to his victims, Lord Henry lures and manipulates Dorian into chase after pleasure, sin, and worldly materials. Just by his intentions alone, the desire to possess Dorian: body, mind, and soul - was vulgar. Henry believes that all influences are immoral and sexual because influence is giving away a part of one's self and putting it into the other. The yellow book which Lord Henry bestows upon Dorian represents his very...