In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian Gray leads a selfish and vain life. After his wish for eternal beauty is granted, Dorian’s vanity is fed by the admiration of his peers. In direct correlation of his increased ego, Dorian’s actions and treatment of others is self-serving. His vanity and selfish lifestyle begin to take root upon Dorian’s introduction to Lord Henry Wotton at Basil Hallward’s studio and grow until the abrupt end of Dorian’s life.
The worship of Dorian’s beauty contributes to his increasingly selfish actions, by adding to Dorian’s flaming ego, his motives, nd treatment of others are self-serving as shown initially at Basil’s studio, then later in Dorian’s treatment of Sybil Vane, Basil Hallward, and Alan Campbell. The Portrait The initial point of conception of Dorian’s ego is in Basil’s studio. Before Dorian even enters the scene, he has been called an “Adonis. ” Adonis is a beautiful man from Greek mythology. From the beginning of the story, as Basil shows Lord Henry Dorian’s portrait, they comment and remark on the beauty of the man captured within the painting.
Yes, he was certainly wonderfully handsome, with his finely-curved scarlet lips, his frank blue eyes, is crisp gold hair.. All the candor of youth.. all youth’s passionate purity.. ” The attention and details noted are all based upon Dorian’s appearance; His beautiful facade. After noting the beautiful countenance of Dorian, Lord Henry understands why Basil “worshiped him. ” Both men admire Dorian’s youth and beauty, and through his speech, Lord Henry bring attention to Dorian’s beauty and youth and makes him aware of how fleeting it is, “For there is such a little time that your youth will last-such a little time… e never get back our youth.
There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth! Lord Henry has planted a seed in Dorian’s mind that will consume his life and set the narrative in motion. Lord Henry has influenced Dorian’s young and naive mind, and it is from here that Dorian will begin to treasure his youth and beauty. “I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young.. if it were I who was able to be young, and the picture that was to grow old! ” Dorian is now set to live his life without aging, and now his focus has been magnified upon his own self and ultimately leading him in a dangerous direction.
The Relationship with Sybil Vane As Dorian’s peer’s compliment, adore and praise his youth and beauty, Dorian begins attending the theater, where he meets and falls in love with Sybil Vane. Truly, Dorian is not feeling the emotion of love, but that of infatuation and awe at Sybil’s appearance and ability to perform on stage. “.. Imagine a girl, hardly seventeen years of age, with a little flower-like face, a small Greek head with plaited coils of dark-brown hair, eyes that were violet wells of passion, lips that were like the petals of a rose. Dorian is swept away by the youth and beauty of Sybil hen he sees her on stage, but he is also swept away at her ability to act. Dorian is in love with the idea of the art Sybil portrays, not the girl herself, so when her acting suffers, Dorian’s infatuation ends along with the relationship.
His treatment of her at their separation is callous and harsh, “He thrust her back. ‘Don’t touch me! ‘ he cried… She crouched on the floor like a wounded thing, and Dorian Gray, with his beautiful eyes, looked down at her, and his chiseled lips curled in exquisite disdain… Her tears and sobs annoyed him. From this passage, one can nfer that Dorian’s infatuation of Sybil is due to her ability to bring Dorian pleasure in the form of her acting as an art. He has no need or want of Sybil’s devotion or love; he just wants to possess her art. When she fails at her art, Dorian no longer has any need or use from her since she gave nothing to him, and he casts her aside. This is a reflection of his selfish character. Even upon receiving the news of Sybil’s death, Dorian says, “.. I must admit that this thing that has happened does not affect me as it should. It seems to me to be simply a wonderful ending to a wonderful play.
Dorian feels nothing because he has no concern for Sybil’s just sadness and appreciation for the death, as it is an art form. He treats Sybil’s death as if it were just a play to be enjoyed by him, feeding his selfish desires. The Murder of Basil Hallward Basil Hallward is not only the creator of the portrait but a friend and an admirer of Dorian. He comes to check in on Dorian after learning of Sybil’s death and while he is visiting he asks of Dorian to sit for another portrait. Upon Dorian’s decline, Basil bares his soul to Dorian. “I was dominated, soul, brain, and power by you… orshiped you.
I only knew I had seen perfection face to face.. I grew more and more absorbed in you… you are made to be worshiped. ” Though Dorian will not pose for Basil the two men remain acquainted. Dorian’s influence has helped to ruin a few young men so, Basil calls on him in order to beg Dorian to use his influence for good, not bad. Basil is insistent on getting Dorian to turn from his destructive ways. After seeing the grotesque portrait, Basil urges Dorian to pray and repent. However, Dorian claims it is too late, and then stabs Basil. Dorian blames Basil for the reation of the portrait and his ugly soul.
He does this because he does not want to accept that his soul is hideous due to his own actions. He acts selfishly and blames Basil for worshipping him and making him into the man he currently is, “The friend who had painted the fatal portrait to which all his misery had been due, had gone out of his life. That was enough. ” Dorian’s instinct is to blame Basil instead of accepting responsibility, because, in order to accept responsibility, one must first humble himself. Dorian is too vain therefore, he cannot humble himself nd his actions following the murder of Basil reflect his selfish nature.
In order to protect himself, Dorian creates an alibi for himself and begins to think of a way to dispose of Basil’s body to prevent further incrimination, he asks Alan Campbell to come to his aid. The Suicide of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell and Dorian were acquainted in school years before; Alan had a passion for science. Dorian remembers this and sends a letter to him and Alan arrives at Dorian’s home under the belief that there is a life or death situation. Dorian inform Alan about Basil’s dead body and upon Alan’s refusal to elp, Dorian blackmails Alan.
Dorian’s actions continue to be selfish. He threatens to ruin the life of another man in order that his own life is not ruined. Dorian is too selfish to take responsibility for himself. This lack of responsibility shown by Dorian, as well as hi selfish morals, leads Alan to suicide. Not being able to tolerate whatever horrid thing Dorian blackmailed him with, as well as the knowledge of assisting in the murder of Basil Hallward, Alan kills himself. Conclusion Dorian’s actions throughout the novel are self-serving. He only has his best interests in mind.
Dorian allows his ego to be fed without checks or balances in place, making his more and more self-involved. His treatment of other is purely for self- gratification. The novel shows a progression of his character and how it progressively gets worse and worse. Even at he end, he takes no responsibility for his actions. Even his motives for stabbing the portrait are selfish. He is trying to get rid of the last bit of evidence that existed. “It would kill the past, and when that was dead he would be free. It would kill this monstrous soul-life, and without its hideous warnings, he would be at peace. “