Books and Movies Reviews

Dorian Gray

By interpreting Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray on the allegorical rather than the literal level, the portrait never physically changes, but rather it simply represents the progressive degeneration of Dorian's soul.Wilde creates several references and uses many symbols, so that the reader may be able to interpret it in this manner.
In the preface, Wilde set the premise for the rest of the novel by stating "All art is at once surface and symbol."Wilde wished to say that any art form may have two sides.Thefirst side consists of the literal meaning.The second refers to the figurative level: the subjective perception that allows for interpretation into an underlying meaning.Consequently, this statement confirms at once that there is this'surface and symbol' present in the novel.Alluding this to the portrait of Dorian Gray, there is a definite connection.Aesthetically, it is nothing more but an excellent piece of art, portraying a young and handsome man.Upon a more scrutinizing eye however, one may be able to see a parallel between the portrait and the conscience or soul of Dorian himself.
However, opposing arguments might state that the portrait actually changes; that it was a result of Dorian's wish "to be always young and the picture to grow old."Additionally Dorian "would give [his] soul for it."This may also be interpreted in a different way.Every reference to a change in the painting can also be placed in the same context as the blemishing of Dorian's own soul.If an individual can assume that something supernatural is physically changing the painting, would it not be more plausible to state that Dorian merely reflected on the state of his own soul and used the portrait as a conduit for doing so?
Another argument literal interpreters might state, is the question of why Dorian conceals his picture if no transformation occurred.Als…


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