The picture of Dorian Gray is a Gothic And philosophical novel by Oscar Wild published in 1890. The novel at the time was heavily censored for promoting hedonism. The author was criticised and his book was often considered as immoral, promoting dangerous thoughts but as he says oscar Wilde himself « The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
The story is about a young, decent and innocent handsome boy, Dorian Gray, who cursed a portrait of himself, for it would remain unaltered by time, and he would be reminded of the beauty he once possessed. Little did he know, the painting would visibly bear his sins and grow old, meanwhile Dorian himself would never appear to age. After years of living only for the pursuit of self-pleasure and indulgence, Dorian became disgusted by all the immoral acts he committed. He resolved to destroy the only evidence of his sins, but he ended up destroying himself, as the portrait contained his very essence.
This book explores how hedonism can take to one’s own downfall. Oscar Wilde delves into human nature taking us to the dark side of the human existence, showing how a person as decent and as innocent as Doran can be able to do such unthinkable crimes in the most inhumane ways possible.
How far can someone go into the darkness without drowning its soul?
How close can you get to the demon inside you without burning yourself?
But most importantly how can you bear the heavy judgemental looks of others on yourself. People said Dorian had traded his soul with the devil himself in exchange for eternal beauty but still, his looks were worshipped and he was seen as a god, never being judged for his acts. Beauty is all that matter in a vain society « I know, now, that when one loses one’s good looks, whatever they may be, one loses everything.”
This book takes us to a society where beauty is more important than morals, where human relations are vain and superficial, a society in which, your soul can be drowning in sins but your body can still be breathing, free from any judgement.
But this book is not about Dorian, it’s about all of us, about every single one of us struggling to chose between good or evil, This book is a mirror to our souls, to the vanity that every single one of us possesses .it’s equally relevant today as it was in the late 19th century.
But at the end of the day, a question still remains: Is it worth it to choke one’s soul and one’s conscience in exchange for an eternity of freedom and pleasure? What’s the right thing to do?