The Portrait Of Dorian Gray, Author Oscar Wilde

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The portrait of Dorian Gray, author Oscar Wilde


The authors usually reflect in their works, an environment and a time that change their perception of life;transforming their ideas, which over time are proposed to capture them into literary narratives;creating characters, spaces and moments with what their experiences left them. On the one hand, the atmosphere in the literature refers to the space in which the characters develop;This can subject their behavior and personality;On the other hand, the time constitutes a specific period in the history of a society, both help to understand the context of the narrative;Consequently, to understand the actions of the characters.

It is seen then, that each era is different;Therefore, you can find a great diversity of writings, many of whom defend their lived time or, in turn, censure it, as is the case of the writer, reason for this work.

It is known that in general, what the author lives is what he usually writes;Because of this, the world he designs in his writings will depend on what he has experienced;A clear example, is the British of Irish origin Oscar Wilde representative of the aestheticism and author of the portrait of Dorian Gray work that has 20 chapters, differentiated between them with numbers, their language is cultured and descriptive in which constant use of theirony and the paradox, the Victorian era of the nineteenth century and the agitated environment that had to live, incite the creation of the work and, consistent with that of the protagonist.

To begin with and, entering the development of this essay;It should be stated that the Victorian era is characterized by the rise of the economy, well -off classes and by norms that qualify the actions of the moral or immoral society. That is why people living in this time strive to comply with established values such as: savings, work, family and respect for faith;Chastity was a virtue and poverty a vice;However, many people live a double moral;Since, in the morning they are elegant gentlemen and, at night people who enjoy lust, who usually visit low places, who live adultery and prostitution. This atmosphere full of extreme contradictions, is the one who feels Wilde, and decides through this work, to make a criticism of the society that appears holiness but that in the end enjoys living without norms without norms.

In this way, Dorian Gray, protagonist of the work, arises as a young character, of good values and possessor of extraordinary physical beauty;Next to him the novel also brings on stage, two characters axes that belong to a high social class and are the ones who manage to change Dorian’s perception with the world, these are: Basilio Hallward and Henry Wotton;The first instills love for art and beauty, showing how the artist managesThey are well used, great things can be done, expressing themselves: “Life reserves you all, Dorian. There is nothing that is not able to do with your extraordinary beauty ".(p. 157) [1: Oscar Wilde, the portrait of Dorian Gray, 2009, Quito, Page.157]

Consequently with this, one of the links of the time in which Wilde and the protagonist live;It is the ideal of beauty that is shown at that time through physical appearance, the way of dressing and, the way as certain places look;All this is part of the well -known aestheticism, looked at as a concept of superficial beauty, this is a resource that the English have;Indeed, open job opportunities, to excel to others, to have many people close to admire and who can serve you. This is how external beauty is above what a human being can have internally: its values, desires and goals. Since, sensory perception is put to reason;As a result, Henry Wotton instills these ideals of beauty to Dorian;exemplifying:

You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Do not get angry. You have it. And beauty is a form of genius, higher, in truth, than genius;You have no need for explanation. It is one of the absolute facts of the world, such as the sun, spring or the reflection in the gloomy waters of that silver shell that we call the moon. This cannot be discussed. It is a sovereignty of divine law. Makes princes to those who possess it.(p. 127) 

This appointment indicates how is the concept of beauty that Wilde wants to show, that beauty that exerts great influence in the society of the time;that is, aesthetics as a manifesto of that time.

Without a doubt, morality is very essential too;However, the author intends to reflect a different perspective of what the time ensures shelter, demonstrating through the protagonist that banal pleasures are above Puritan values;This also demonstrates Dorian’s obsession to remain young and beautiful forever, as indicated by the following appointment: “Now I know that when one loses the beauty of him loses everything. His work has taught me. Lord Henry Wotton has complete reason. Youth is the only thing that is worth. When I notice that I aged I will kill myself ”(P. 132). A whim that leads to work to a devastating outcome, a portrait of the protagonist as a mirror of his actions, actions that most people under the domain of Queen Victoria and used to do. 

Therefore, this way of acting Dorian, is influenced by Henry, saying that: "The only means of getting out of temptation is to give in to her" (P. 123) instilling hedonism and, changing his attitudes through a book that I give him;Consequently, you can notice as long as the story progresses, that Dorian as a young man was no longer at least the adult that was being formed;Since he has committed acts that stain his soul, making him a totally negligible being. With this, the author reflects how easy it is to manipulate people;The superficial of the morality of time and, the decline of the time perpetuating more and more. 

It has also been appointed that one of the purposes of the novel is to criticize English;Constant criticism in all the Wildereana work. Therefore, the life that Dorian carries, the veneration for the beauty of Basilio Hallward and the insolent cynicism of Henry Wotton;They reflect Wilde’s own life;since, he was always subject to rigorous criticism for the rigid moral implanted. Indeed, the influence of the environment and the time in this unique story is clearly observed.

On the other hand, the writer reflects the hypocrisy of time;The implications with Dorian are observed as a character who does not care about anyone but him and his beauty, nor the people who are throughout his life like Henry and Basilio;Wilde lets him glimpse in the following appointment: "The painter Basilio Hallward, who idolizes physical beauty until excess, like most of the painters, dies in the hands of a person in whose soul he has made a monstrous and absurd vanity be born"(p. 72). Likewise, this way of acting is customary in the English, the high social classes denigrate people who do not correspond to their level;To illustrate us Henry Wotton comments: 

I know how people in England. The middle class shows the desserts of their moral prejudices, and what these people call the relaxation of their superiors are whispered to try to appear to belong to the great world and that it is in the best relationships with the people to whom they slander.(p. 188) [6: Ibid, p.188]

In this way, the falsity present in society can be seen.

In conclusion, the environment and the time greatly influence the author, the Victorian era and the characteristics of it are expressed throughout the work, hypocrisy, superficial beauty, art and decline. In this way, Oscar Wilde conditions the behavior and personality of each character adapting them to the reality he lives. Indeed, Wilde reflects in the protagonist a life of pleasure, sin and vice, Dorian’s luminous darkness that contradicts the established norms but, without a doubt, are part of a bad habit in society. With this, it is observed how the authors characterize their characters, based on a reality that they threw, thus giving the adequate importance of the circumstances in which events happen;since, they significantly influence literary creation, as is the case of Wilde;But does this happen? The way of perceiving the reality of each author subject to the content of what will produce?


  1. Wilde, or. (2009). Dorian Gray’s portrait. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 72). Quito: Antares.
  2. Wilde, or. (2009). Dorian Gray’s portrait. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 127). Quito: Antares.
  3. Wilde, or. (2009). Dorian Gray’s portrait. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 123). Quito: Antares.
  4. Wilde, or. (2009). Dorian Gray’s portrait. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 188). Quito: Antares.
  5. Wilde, or. (2009). Dorian Gray’s portrait. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 157). Quito: Antares.
  6. Wilde, or. (2009). The Portrait of Dorian Grey. In o. Wilde, Dorian Gray’s portrait (p. 132). Quito: Antares.

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