In the books The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr. Faustus, both protagonists are lured into the world of evil, but by different forces. Dorian Gray and Dr. Faustus both sell their souls to the devil. However, Dorian Gray deals with the devil unknowingly, and Dr. Faustus conjures the devil. After Dorian sells his soul, he becomes an immoral criminal, and even resorts to murder. After Dr. Faustus sells his soul, he lives frivolously and entertains himself through practical jokes. So who is more evil? An innocent young man corrupted by the ideas of another?
Or, a man who is bored with the world, and seeking excitement calls upon the devil? Dorian Gray is clearly more evil, because even though both he and Faustus were corrupted by knowledge Dorian destroys peoples lives and commits felonies, whereas Faustus just does things for his own pleasure. The protagonists in these works are intellectuals. They read many books and have an immense amount of knowledge in many areas. Dr. Faustus knows everything about the material world and is dissatisfied with it. So, he becomes infatuated with the spiritual world.
This is why he wants to sell his soul. His desire for knowledge overcomes his sensibility. Dorian Gray read many books about fields he was interested in like art. These books did not corrupt him; he was just thirsty for knowledge. Many other factors lead to the eventual downfall of both characters, but books and written documents have an especially strong effect on the characters. Doctor Faustus has a Book of Magic that first turns him onto black magic and the devil. Furthermore, Faustus never would have been forced to have his meeting with the devil, if it hadnt been for that book.
The devil doesnt come because the spell works, but because he knows he has something to gain if he answers the call. Similarly, Dorian has a little yellow book that Lord Henry gave him. Dorian is so amazed with this book; he has copies made in nine different colors. Although the content of the book remains unknown, it is evident it had a profound effect on Dorian. These books were the first in the series of written documents that would eventually change the two men forever and leave both damned. Letters play an important role in the novel and the play.
Both Dorian and Dr. Faustus write letters that dramatically alter their lives. Dorian writes many letters that contain secrets. He writes letters asking for forgiveness, like his letter to Sibyl. He also writes letters to blackmail people like Alan Campbell. With every letter he writes, Dorian achieves a new level of wickedness. Dr. Faustus writes one letter that changes his life forever. This letter guarantees his soul to Lucifer. Dorians writes his letters intentionally to destroy other peoples lives or hurt them. Dr. Faustus letters destroy his own life. Both Dr. Faustus and Dorian are damned because they sell their souls for selfish reasons.
Dr. Faustus is older and knows he was selling his soul. Dorian is an innocent eighteen-year-old that doesnt know what he is getting himself into. Yet, after the deal is sealed, Dr. Faustus does no physical harm to anyone. He plays practical jokes and has a good time. Dorian murders people, drives others to suicide, ruins the lives of many of his friends, and allows himself to be succumbed by pleasures from anyone he can get. This makes Dorian the more evil character. He becomes the more evil character through a series of changes that are brought about by written documents, namely books and letters.