What does Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray teach?

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is the story of one young man, kind-hearted, sweet, with a kind and bright soul, beautiful both externally and internally. Dorian Gray is still quite a young man, he is pure in thoughts and burns with a thirst to live, to know the world, and therefore it is very easy to be influenced by others. Lord Henry becomes his moral guide, mentor, teacher, who talks about the right life, and Dorian does not even think about the fact that he can be wrong in his judgments. The young man does not even notice the open irony of his new patron, perceiving all his words as worldly, primordially true, truth.

Dorian is handsome. So much so that one of the artists – Basil – decides to capture his image and his soul, which he considered in this young man, on his canvas. He paints a portrait of Dorian Gray.

This portrait will become the central character of this plot, as it will begin to age and become distorted instead of its prototype. All those indecencies into which the young man plunges headlong will not affect his material body, but will be reflected in his portrait until he becomes terrifying and frightening. Dorian will sink lower and lower – at first he will start a wild life, then he will become addicted to alcohol and drugs, he will bring the girl to suicide and commit murder himself, and further – worse, worse and worse, until, finally, he reaches the social bottom and hates myself. But not the self that he became, but the self that is depicted in the portrait – an aging, terrifying-looking old man covered with traces of illness. In a word, not at all the charming young man that Dorian Gray used to be.

The novel teaches that you should not thoughtlessly trust the words of others, it is easy to succumb to other people’s influence, even if this person is nice to you, even if he is older than you and seems wise – everything needs to be checked before adopting his behavior model, succumbing to his influence, because that it could be fatal.

The novel teaches that the most important thing in a person is not external beauty, behind which a rotten soul, a cruel and cold person is hiding, easily ready to kill, but internal beauty, behind which a kind, gentle and pure person is hiding, who never allows himself to violate moral and moral standards, and, moreover, to break laws and commit murder.

The novel teaches that not all ideas that are part of the worldview of a particular person can become a moral guide for either a single person or a whole generation. The author conveys this idea through his, so to speak, negative hero – Lord Henry, who, albeit, to some extent, unintentionally became a moral guide and standard, the idol of Dorian Gray.

The novel teaches that a person should never exalt his beauty, be dependent on it, consider that it will open the doors to the whole world for him, that if you are beautiful, you don’t have to work on yourself, thinking that you will be forgiven everything for your beauty. This becomes one of the main conflicts of Dorian Gray himself – the protagonist of this work, who falls to the bottom not only because of the influence of Lord Henry, but also because of the conviction that everyone is ready to praise him simply because he is not bad-looking . And this really happens: they admire him, fall in love with him, appreciate him and want to see him at home. But exactly until he turns into a real monster, breaking girls’ hearts to the right and left, leading to suicide and killing himself. His moral, inner appearance becomes so terrible that people begin to turn away from him.

The novel teaches that it is impossible to stop time and remain forever young, who is only learning life and the art of living. All people are mortal, and all people have to answer for their mistakes, at least to themselves. Dorian Gray answers in front of his portrait – trying to turn back time, he hopes to destroy the portrait so that he no longer sees on it, so to speak, a reflection of what he has become. He even tries to change the appearance in the portrait with good behavior, but it is so insincere that it does not work, and Dorian in his hearts stabs his portrait with a knife, as he once hit its creator, and instantly turns into an old man depicted in the portrait.

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