Oscar wilde and The picture of Dorian Gray

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Oscar Wilde:
Life and main works:Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854.After attending Trinity College he was sent to Oxford where he distinguished himself for his eccentricity .
Then he left Oxford and settled in London where he soon become a fashionable both for his extraordinary wit and his foppish way of dressing .
In 1881 Wilde edited "Poems",and was engaged for a tour in the United States where he gave some lectures on the Pre-Raphaelities and the Aesthetes.
The tour was a remrkable personal success for Wilde,who made himself known for his irony,his attitudes and his poses.
On his return in Europe in 1883,he married Constance Lloyd who bore him two children,but he soon become tired of his marriage.
At this point of his career he was most noted as a greater talker:his presence became a social event and his remarks appeared in the most fashionable London magazines.
In the late 1880s Wilde's lterary talent was revealed by a series of short stories:"The Canterville Ghost,Lord Arthur Savile's Crime", "The Happy Prince and Other Tales"written for his children and the novel "The picture of Dorian Gray"(1891).
In the 1890s he produced a series of plays which were successful on the London stage:"Lady Windermere's Fan","A Woman of no importance","The importance of being earnest",his masterpiece,and the tragedy in French "Salomи".
However,both the novel and the tragedy damaged the writer's reputation,since the former was considered immoral ,and the latter was prevented from appearing on the London stage owing to its alleged obscenity.
The rebel and the dandy:Wilde totally adopetd "the aesthetic ideal",as he affirmed in one of his famous conversations:"My life is like a work of art".
He lived the double role of rebel and dandy.The Wildean dandy is an aristocratic wuose elegance is a symbol of the superiority of his spirit;he uses his wit to shock,and is an individualist who demands absolute freedom.
Life was meant for pleasure,and pleasure was an indulgence in beauty,so Wilde's main interests were beautiful clothes,good conversation,delicious food and handsome boys.
Art for art's sake:the concept of "art for art's sake"was to him a moral imperative and not merely an aesthetic one.
He belived that only "Art as the cult of Beauty" could prevent the murder of the soul.
Wilde perceived the artist as an alien in a materialistic world,he wrote only to please himself and was not concerned in communcating his theories to his fellows-beings.
His pursuit of beauty and fulfilment was the tragic act of a superior being inevitably turned into an outcast.
"The picture of Dorian Gray":
Plot:Dorian Gray is a young man whose beauty fascinates an artist,Basil Hallward,who decides to paint him.
While the young man's desires are satisfied including that of eternal youth,the signs of age,experience and vice appear on the portrait.
Dorian lives only for pleasure,making use of everybody and letting people die because of his insensitivity.
When the painter sees the corrupted image of the portrait,Dorian kills him.
Later Dorian wants to free himself of the portrait,witness to his spiritual corruption,and stabs it, but he mysteriously kills himself.
In the very moment of death the picture returns to its original purity,and Dorian'face becomes withered,wrinkled and loathsome.
Narrative technique:This story is told by an unobtrusive third-person narrator;the perspective adopted is internal from the point of Dorian,who appears in the second chapter,and this allows a process od identification between the reader and the character .
The setting are vividly descibed with words appealing to the senses,the charasters reveal themselves through what they say or what other people say of them,according to a technique which is typical of drama.
The typical dandy:Dorian is the protagonist,the typical dandy,who thinks man should live his life,realising his wishes and his dreams.
Dorian believes youth is synonymous with beauty and happiness.
Allegorical meaning:This story is profoundly allegorical;it is a 19th-century version of the myth of Faust the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil so that all his desires might be satisfied.
This soul becomes the picture,which records the signs of experience,the corruption,the horror and the sins concealed under the mask of Dorian's timeless beauty.
The picture is not an autonomous self:it stands for the dark side of Dorian's personality,his double,which he tries to forget by locking the picture in a room.
the moral of this novel is that every excess must be punished and reality cannot be escaped.
The horrible,corruping picture could be seen as a symbol of the immorality and bad conscience of the Victorian middle class,while Dorian and his pure,innocent appearance are symbols of bourgeois hypocrisy.