The Picture of Dorian Grayby, Oscar Wilde (Setting, Plot)

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Last updated: October 5, 2019

Setting: The novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by, Oscar Wilde is set in London England in the nineteenth century; the setting is credible for many reasons first of all because the setting is not based in a fictional place but a real world place (London England). The setting is also credible because Dorian lives in the upper west side where he lives a life of wealth, lugguary and pleasure. The setting in the novel holds great importance, because of where Dorian lives he is freely able to moove between two major parts of London, the wealthy West End and the decrepit East End.In the West End, mostly in the super-ritzy Mayfair district, Dorian establishes his home, frequents various gentlemen’s clubs, theatres, and symphony halls. In the East End, near the dock, the disguised Dorian steals into grotesque saloons-turned-opium-dens for an occasional high, and disgustedly rubs elbows with the various underworld characters whose lives he’s destroyed. The two settings represent Dorian’s two sides. In the West End, he is the gallant gentleman, fashionable trendsetter, cultured aristocrat, and scandalous local celebrity.

There he enjoys the highest art forms civilization has to offer – opera, theatre, painting, French cuisine – to fulfill his refined appetite. In the East End, however, he becomes a creepy, skulking, unambiguously evil specter (the “devil’s bargain”) – just as desperate as the next guy for an opium hit and generally trying to find ways to forget his criminal life in the city. Wilde vividly creates a doubled setting for a doubled life.

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Theme:Since the late 19th century, a great many things have changed and become more visible, yet the themes in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray still holds its relevance, in particular the theme of beauty and youth. themes discussed in the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray holds its relevance to this day. A hundred and twenty one years have passed since Oscar Wilde published his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, with its controversial themes of hedonism, duplicity and worship of youth and beauty.

While the decadence and homo-eroticism that shocked his contemporaries upon its original publication would hardly raise an eyebrow today, the theme of youth and beauty worship remains extremely relevant in today’s society. Today, both the young and the aging can relate to the book? s protagonist, Dorian Gray, who could not imagine becoming old. Since the late 19th century, a great many things have changed and become more visible, yet the story of Dorian Gray is still one of relevance, as everyone surely knows the lengths people go to, to achieve and maintain beauty.The everlasting youth and beauty that Dorian Gray was granted unawares through supernatural means is now possible to achieve, for some time at least, with beauty therapies and cosmetic surgeries. The message of the story, that everything comes with a price, resonates better with the everyday man or woman.

This moral of the story is perhaps a simple one but as Wilde himself wrote: “All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril” (6).

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