Dorian Gray And Lord Henry

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Oscar Wilde's A Picture of Dorian Gray presents many themes, including conflict and influence. In this novel, Lord Henry Wotton creates a conflict with the naïve and innocent Dorian Gray by influencing and mentally corrupting him. Under this influence, Dorian becomes a hedonist, constantly pursuing pleasure and everlasting beauty. This one-way conflict, where Lord Henry almost completely controls Dorian's emotions, is the cause for Dorian's downfall and death. Lord Henry, who enjoys manipulating people to calm his hedonist feelings, spots Dorian's vulnerability immediately and plants the seeds of terror in the young man by imposing him his radical, yet catchy theories of life. In the beginning of the book, when he meets Dorian, he tells him "[An influenced person's] virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for." (20) The irony of Lord Henry saying this, is that he will eventually corrupt Dorian. He tells him this, but Dorian does not pay attention to the warning, and wants to hear more of Lord Henry's addicting sayings. Harry's theories act like a slow poison: They get into you, start reacting, and slowly but surely, they destroy you. Dorian, who enters the novel as an almost idealistic figure, is completely under the control of Lord Henry's string pulling wordiness by the end of the second chapter. However, before he controls him, he confuses him and leaves him questioning himself and his way of life. This is observable as Dorian responds "'Stop! [...] Stop! You bewilder me. I don't know what to say. There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don't speak. Let me think. Or, rather, don't let me think.'" The
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