The Influence In Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray

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Throughout The Picture of Dorian Gray, the importance and centrality of influence becomes increasingly evident. “Words! Mere Words! How terrible they were! How clear vivid and cruel!” Mere words seduce Dorian because he is young and impressionable. Due to Lord Henry’s eloquent and persuasive nature, he is able to implement himself as a role model to Dorian Gray, directly leading to Dorian’s slip into a life of dissolution and scandalous behavior. Seducing Dorian into his fatal bargain, Lord Henry uses “mere words” to tempt Dorian to explore an all sensual experience, while deluding him to evade the consequences of his hedonistic indulgence. Influence is what Lord Henry does best and what he enjoys most; inevitably, his charm, wit, and intellect…show more content…
It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain” (Wilde 24). Lord Henry advocates a return to the “Hellenic ideal,” to the sensibilities of ancient Greece where the appreciation of beauty reigned. He strikes a contrast between those glory days and the present mode of living, which, he believes, is marked by a morality that demands self-denial. The outcome of denial, he goes on to say, is only a stronger desire for that which has been denied. This passage is a bold challenge to conventional and restrictive Victorian morality; it dismisses the notion of sin as a figment of the imagination. Interestingly, if sin is relegated to the mind, as Lord Henry would have it, then it should follow that the body is free from the effects of sin. Escorting Lord Henry and Basil to the theater, Dorian states, “Discord is to be forced to be in harmony with others. One’s own life, that is the important thing. As for the lives of one’s neighbors, if one wishes to be a prig or a Puritan, one can flaunt one’s moral views about them, but they are not one’s concern. Besides, Individualism has really the higher aim” (Wilde 75). According to this line of

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