Essay about The Picture Of Dorian Gray

1318 Words Aug 16th, 2015 6 Pages
In the preface to his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde states that ‘there is no such thing as a moral or immoral book’ which implies that the aestheticism of a piece of writing is more vital to its success than the skill of the author. This view is reflected in Victorian society where ingrained aestheticism was simply used as a facade to hide the truth, however, Wilde is actually making a deep societal criticism of this. Paradoxically, as an author he has a prerequisite to please his audience, in this case by demonstrating the triviality of Victorian society and the overvaluing of appearance within it, although this is partially concealed by a thin veil of humour. In contrast, as a modern author Waters is able to be more forthright about her views and can therefore make a sincere societal criticism about Victorian England without having to conceal her views under a guise of aestheticism, although she is still restricted to an extent by modern attitudes to homosexual relationships.

The need to please others was prevalent throughout Victorian society, a point which Wilde emphasises through his characters’ use of clothing to deceive those around them such as when Jack arrives at the Manor House in his clothes of ‘deepest mourning, with a crape hatband and black gloves.’ The reason for this morbid attire is to persuade both Cecily and Miss Prism that his disreputable and ‘wicked’ brother Ernest is deceased. The ‘black’ colour imagery highlights the sombre occasion…

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