Dorian Grey by O. Wilde
The book by Oscar Wilde can be considered a separate philosophic system: it gives rise to a great number of speculations, and people’s opinion of the book itself is very contradictory: some agree with Wilde’s philosophy, and some condemn the book. And the main character of Dorian Grey makes this book as peculiar as it is.
Through the whole course of the story our attitude towards Dorian varies greatly: first we feel sympathy for him, then we feel disgust because of his crimes, and at the very end we feel pity. The influence of Lord Henry, and his extraordinary principles contradicting to common sense led Dorian to the brink of the abyss, and his further degradation was a matter of time. His personality wasn’t able to resist temptations, and his thirst for new sensations and new experience turned out to be fatal in the end.
The idea of a portrait that reflects the innermost world of the original man isn’t new; practically it was expressed in “Shagreen Leather” by Balsak.
Nobody could ever be able to believe that Dorian Grey could combine malice and beauty. And his portrait was not an ordinary picture any more: it became the face of Dorian’s conscience and it became a material expression of his soul that was sold to …
The fatal combination of circumstances led Dorian astray: he met lord Henry. And his cunning philosophy that was a terrible combination of hedonism and selfish individualism deprived Dorian of any individuality: he became a slave of lord Henry. Following his views he was afraid of lack of individuality, but completely lost it in the end just because of Henry’s influence.
Having committed a crime once, as Sybil Vane’s death was only his fault, and he knew that, he killed Basil Hallward, who was the only man trying to prevent Dorian from moral devastation, then he became a reason for Alan Campbell’s suicide. But Dorian didn’t think his deeds anything terrible: they were just new experience and sensations.
Such a mode of life turned Dorian from a good-natured man into a vicious and awful person. By the way, it’s very strange, that nobody could do him any harm, and it’s not at all accidental that James Vane was shot. Life had something in store for Dorian. And his end was predefined.