Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Message of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray brings us further into the concept of desire and illustrates quite vividly of its power, its weakness, its beauty, its ugliness, its motivation, and its destruction. It also presents the ideals and allures of theories, such as aestheticism and hedonism, and reveals the reality of these concepts when practiced through human hands. The many intricate relationships between ambition, morality, sin, one’s conscience, the individual, and society can be quite astonishing.

The complexity of these connections depicted is definitely one of the key elements in capturing my attention and earning my admiration for the novel. I received many messages from this classic story, not simply about the world around me but also the world within me. Yet, when I try to piece them all together, the messages seem to be ambiguous or contradictory.

Take Dorian Gray for example – perhaps you will disagree with me, but I cannot deny the magnetism and charisma of Dorian Gray. Even though I know exactly how dangerous and hideous he truly is on the inside, I still cannot resist being pulled in by the form that he allows the world to see. I may not be completely attracted to him, but there are still elements of his entity to be admired.

He is art. Dorian Gray is art.

As Wilde says, “it is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” If Dorian Gray truly resembles the evilness of life, then what is it trying to imply about me?

But if beauty is there, how can it be denied? Shouldn’t art be appreciated for art’s sake? Art only needs to be beautiful. There should be no other use, and its justification of Art’s existence is that it is admires intensely. (The Picture of Dorian Gray, Preface)

Perhaps this sort of conflict, this ambiguity and complexity, is exactly what Oscar Wilde is trying to tell us.

You cannot view this world as purely black and white. There is black, and there is white; and there is gray as the two intermingle as they come into contact. You are not purely evil, and neither are you purely good; you are a combination of the two.

There are opposing forces, ideas, and views inside us and outside us that are struggling to live in the same place. They are currently coexisting in one time and one place. The end result may be as clear to you or as vague as Dorian’s demise, but the certain thing is that, as of now, there are two sides to the world, two faces of the being, and their line of separation cannot be so precise. To force a separation thoroughly earthly means is harmful, painful, and utterly impossible other than the means of death.

One thing with living in this world is to learn to come to terms with the openness in life and finding your definition of “you” and “life.”

I could be completely wrong about this final message from Dorian Gray, and Oscar Wilde could actually mean something absolutely different by his novel.

But, this is my own interpretation and my own definition about the work,

and isn’t that what Art is?

Isn't that what Life is?

~ My Work ~

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