Dorian Grey Essay

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The Purpose of Art as a Mirror “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors”(4). The Beginning of Oscar Wilde’s book, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is filled with oxymorons and other statements meant to give an insight on the ideas of art and the spectator. Basil, the artists, creates a portrait of the seeming perfect Dorian Gray. Dorian has a very unique relationship with the portrait, whenever he experiences a certain emotion, the portrait also changed as well. Just as the beginning quote states, the portrait acts as a mirror, and either copies his life or his own emotions. Throughout the novel, the author intends to prove that art mirrors the spectator. The spectator is able to see part of himself in the art or the literal meaning portrayed in the novel. All of the transformations of Dorian throughout the novel are portrayed in the portrait. In the start of the novel, Basil paints a wonderful portrait of Dorian, it captures the image of him perfectly. Dorian immediate falls in love with it and begins to envy it as well: “…If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that--for that--I would give everything…I would give my soul for that”(25)! Although he did not recognize it then, he gave his soul to the portrait to forever remain perfect. Right now he is jealous of the picture because of it’s eternal youth, and he takes the picture and refuses to have it put in an exhibition. The portrait belongs to him and he is the only one who can see its beauty. This supports the idea that it is the spectator at the art mirrors, since Dorian is the only person who can ever see the picture and how it changes. He begins to have immense jealously for the portrait: “How said it is! How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. It will never be older than this particular day of June…”(27-28). After

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