The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • Created by: GCHIS
  • Created on: 20-11-19 13:19

Supremacy of Beauty and Youth

People like to tell themselves they do not judge a book by its cover, or they do not judge a person for what they see. In both Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, this is untrue. In Wilde's novel, it is Dorian himself who cannot see past one's appearance, even his own, which leads to his ultimate demise. In Fitzgerald's short story, society judges Benjamin Button, including his parents, not seeing past the unusual case of an eighteen year old boy that has the appearance of a fifty-year old man.

It is interesting to see the effects that society has on the different social classes. For example, Basil Hallward's sense of morality is completely different to the likes of Dorian Gray and Lord Henry Wotton (largely because Lord Henry does not have the influence over him as he does Dorian), and he is the only one who acknowledges Sybil Vane's inner beauty. Dorian becomes frustrated with her performances on stage and despite her consequent suicide, cannot find it in himself to feel guilty about the role he played in it. Basil, however, sees Dorian's influence and recognises that Sybil was a beautiful person despite her roles on stage. Similarly, not many people grow to appreciate Benjamin Button as a person, but they judge hum on his outward appearance.


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