Dorian Gray Analysis

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  • Created by: LilyIM
  • Created on: 19-06-17 21:43


Basil Hallward 

  • Only when Basil dies is his moral strictures heard. 
  • Henry describes him as a 'bore' but he is more like the 'good angel' in the book.
  • He is the only central character with a sense of right and wrong.
  • He refuses to believe the lies about Dorian and only thinks Henry's cynicism is a 'pose'. 
  • Basil chooses to diminish his ego. He hides from society, doesn't dress eccentrically etc. 
  • He contrasts with Henry and Dorian.
  • But in his 'worship' of Dorian, he unwittingly objectifies and creates Dorian as an Object of Desire for Henry.
  • He is in 'self-denial' of his love for most the book. 
  • But when he confesses his love for Dorian he puts it aside and pledges to be a loyal friend.
  • Has a painful inner life, love comes at a cost of his art.

Lord Henry

  • Aristocrat. 
  • His place in the family causes resentment, but free responsibility.
  • Content with status quo.
  • Regards less privileged as disposable, view on women show his oblivion to changes in society.
  • His hatred of private Philanthropy echoes Wilde's, but the political basis is different. Wilde thought socialism should eradicate poverty. Henry believes in that society has gone 'bankrupt' through an 'over expenditure of sympathy'. A form of social Darwinism (survival of the fittest). 
  • Makes Dorian his experiment. Done this before, describing it as 'vivisecting' suggesting violence, which has left him emotionless. 
  • Wants to dominate him with words.
  • Lord Henry is a hypocrite. Saying 'all' influence is bad, whilst influencing Dorian. 
  • He doesn't realize what a monster he's created. Says he is incapable of crimes or of Dorian's stays in the opium dens. 
  • As he gets older he 'wrinkled, worn and yellow'. Says 'worship' for the first time. 


  • Ability to reinvent himself. 
  • Acts like a child at the start, never a point in his life was someone deny's him. Not until the end he contemplates denying himself.
  • 'Virtue' is just another mask to try on.
  • He can feel pity, not empathy. 
  • Basil loves his charisma and freshness in vision. 
  • Dorian can only ever extend his knowledge, not his understanding.
  • Feels terror, not remorse. 
  • He is a collector towards his experiences.
  • No 'real' Dorian, the reality of Dorian lies in what he does.
  • The


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