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The Picture of Dorian Gray (Book Report Sample)


What are the various reflections of Wilde’s personality in his book The Picture of Dorian Gray?

What are the various reflections of Wilde’s personality in his book The Picture of Dorian Gray?
In his only published novel, "The picture of Dorian Gray," Oscar Wilde brings out his own character and personality through the various characters. The novel centers on Dorian, who is an orphaned young man and a homosexual. Despite all the excesses he indulges in, he never seems to be affected physically. The book’s main theme is homoeroticism. The author, Oscar Wilde, lived in a society that did not tolerate homosexuality. From his book, it is clear that he was struggling with the fact that he was actually a homosexual. The book is, therefore, a means through which he was showing his conflicted feelings.
Though considered a work of literary quality, people of his time dismissed the book calling it "unclean" and "nauseous" (Ellmann 58). Does society influence the way people live their lives? When reading the novel, one sees the way society has forced humanity to lead a certain way of life considered upright, ethical and decent. Reading both his book and his biography by Ellman, one realizes that the characters are a representation of Wilde at different stages of his life. Wilde, in one of his letters, states that the main characters, Dorian, Lord Henry and Basil, are a reflection of his own self: "Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be - in other ages, perhaps" (Raby79). In this essay, I will address how the characters’ Wilde used in the novel are a depiction of his own life and personality at different stages.
Reflections of Wilde’s Personality in Basil’s Character
In the novel, Basil plays the role of an artistwho is attracted to Dorian. Basil’s attraction for Dorian could be related to Wilde’s relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas. Basil confesses to Dorian "I was only happy when I was with you" (Wilde 120). When Wilde says that he thinks that he is Hallward (Wilde, The letters of Oscar Wilde), he lets us see that the community that he lived in discouraged him from expressing his sexuality. When Dorian kills Basil, in real life it marked whenWilde started embracing homosexuality.
Reflections of Wilde’s Personality in Lord Henry’s Character
Lord Wotton is an aristocrat who has his own theories about life, pleasures and women. Lord Henry opposes morality, since it advocates for restraints against desires. To him, there is no right or evil; moral or immoral. Though Basil admits his attraction to Dorian, Henry on the other hand does not. However, later we see that he keeps pictures of Dorian. The Wilde we see in Henry feels that he is above human emotions. It is as though Basil and Henry play the role of the angel and the devil to Dorian as depicted by their actions. Henry could be said to represent the turning point in Wilde’s life.
Reflections of Wilde’s Personality in Dorian’s Character
Dorianis an arrogant young man who is said to be beautiful (Wilde 125). He starts off as an innocent young boy who later possesses a corrupted soul. He starts adopting Lord Henry’s opinions on hedonism and starts caring more for desires and pleasures than people. The passing on of Sybil, a girl he supposedly loved, changes him. He starts living as Lord Henry tells him and using the book given to him as a life guide; "For years, Dorian Gray could not free himself from the influence of this book" (Wilde 123). After living many years exploiting every pleasure there was, he eventually becomes guilt ridden and frightened and decides to change his life.
Wilde could never lead his life openly as a homosexual since society would not allow it. When inquired to talk about it at his trial, he said that it was the noblest form of affection (Law). There are a...
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