Dorian gray criticism

dorian criticism

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: coral
  • Created on: 13-05-12 12:02

Influence/Manipulation

Palmer describes it yellow book to be a ‘destructive hedonism (which) darkly parodies Pater’s instructions ‘to grasp any exquisite passion

Sloan- in evolutionary stories he suggests that ‘Dorian becomes the guneia pig for Wotton’s evolutionary experiment.’- Animal Magnetism – Franz Antor Mesmer – replaced by hypnosis, ‘The Picture of Dorian gray’ shows this as it passes from sentence to sentence, the candence of the sentence produces hypnotically a form of reverie, a malady of dreaming made him unconscious of the failing day and creeping shadows.

Arnolds- Dorian is the bearer of flawed hereditary instincts rather than a vicim of evil influences.                                             

Calloway - for Wilde Wainewright appealingly possessed the 'dangerous and delightful distinction of being different from others - undoubtledly a vital, if ultimately self destructive, trait of the character which Wilde would develop.   He described Pater to have ‘such a strange influence over my life.’



1 of 6

Art

Palmer  yellow book = ‘destructive hedonism parodies Pater’s instructions ‘to grasp any exquisite passion.'

Houston A Baker Jr  artists tragedy avoided ‘if he had not been all conscience.’

 Plato -  Theory of forms = earthly life = imperfect copies of divine reality and that the perfect form exists in another plane.

Sloan – Dorian and his portrait mirror each other, ‘dandified’ ‘feminised images’, Like Des Esseintes, on whom he is modelled, Dorian is a collector - refinement and taste, rarity+art. quest for new sensations =ultimately a prisoner of desire.’ Dorian abandons Sibyl for she put life before art.‘Dorian gray not a moral tragedy, paradoxical commentary on the aesthetic tendencies conceal reality

2 of 6

Victorian Society

D’Annunzio – Dorian like the superman exalts his virtues that can raise the country’s future and make him the object of aesthetical admiration.

Punter and Bryon – within the world of the contemporary reader. The exotic and historical setting, instead, something more disturbingly familiar: the bourgeois domestic world of new urban landscape.                                       

 Cohen - development of male identity within an environment challenges the traditional bourgeois- appropriate behaviour.. Characters challenge the Victorian standards of the true male identity. Don’t have to live like middle class - circulate freely, aetheticised social space that they collectively define.                

 Sunderland - suggest that Wilde desires to ‘abolish the generational sequences of youth, maturity and age’.

 


 


3 of 6

Sin + Morality

Sloan- ‘Dorian gray is not a moral tragedy,but a paradoxical commentary on the aesthetics of its time that would conceal... the true relations between people and things.

 Houston A Baker Jr suggests that the artists tragedy may have been avoided ‘if he had not been all conscience.’

‘Lord Henry represents instinct in The Picture of Dorian gray, and Basil hallward represents conscience.’ 

Arnolds- Dorian is the bearer of flawed hereditary instincts rather than a vicim of evil influences. 

Symonds- effort to establish morality on a scientific basis is united with the Ancient Greek world and the nineteenth century evolutionary theory. 


4 of 6

Dual Nature

Gillespie - ‘Basil hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be – other ages perhaps.‘a breadth of contending principles guides their behaviour without any old holding primacy’ you see this in chapter 23 when Dorian articulates a range of responses to Basil hallwards death. 

1.    NIETZCHE – man is something we must go beyond, man has to demolish all the old dogmas to free the self from every superstructure.                                                                      Plato -  Theory of forms states that earthly life is filled with imperfect copies of divine reality and that the perfect form exists in another plane.                                                                    Sloan – Dorian and his portrait mirror each other, ‘dandified’ ‘feminised images’ - a paradoxical commentary on the aesthetic tendencies of its time that would conceal... the true relations 


 



5 of 6

Faust Legend

1.      BRISTOW – Dorian’s divided life makes it clear that ‘all excess, as well as all renunction, brings its punishment.’ In a different society – the beautiful youth would be able to explore his vibrant being as a ‘complex multiform creature’ free from the puritanical strictures of late Victorian England.

1.      NIETZCHE – man is something we must go beyond, man has to demolish all the old dogmas to free the self from every superstructure. The superman follows his will to the power – breaks every obstacle and wins over natural forces.

2.      D’Annunzio – Dorian like the superman exalts his virtues that can raise the country’s future and make him the object of aesthetical admiration. Like Dr Faustus – he wanted to overcome every human limit; he does not aim at any aesthetical purpose only to satisfy the lust of power. Knowledge without limits. Superman is according to past literature always deceived, after reaching the aesthetic goal Faustus/ Dorian realise they have been deceived. Faustus sold his soul to the devil for 25 years of unknown knowledge, similarly Dorian lives an intense, dissolute and sinful life in perennial search for pleasure without fearing the signs of passing years.

1.      Spencer- influential belief in ‘the survival of the fittest’ introduces a secular moral dimension to evolutionism. 


6 of 6

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all resources »