Oscar Wilde is a famous writer of the victorian era. During this time, novels override poetry that’s why, even if he beggan to write a collection of poems in the tradition of esthetic, he quickly started to write plays and short stories in which he went deeper and deeper in his research of the ambiguity of beauty and often hurted himself to the strict rules of the Victorian era, especially concerning his plays.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, his only novel, depict the story of a virtuous young beautiful man, Dorian Gray, recently rich after his father’s death. He inherits of his father’s domain and meet some former friends of his father, particulary a painter Basil Hallward who quickly become his friend and who is absolutely fascinate by Dorian’s beauty and decide to paint a portrait of him. During his work, he presents him Lord Henry who live a life of decay completely opposite of Dorian’s one. But quickly, he leads Dorian in the darkest side of London, convicing him that his beauty his a gift and that money, youth and lust are the best things that could ever happened to him. When Dorian’s portrait is finally finished, he is flabbergasted by is own appearance. So he organize a party to show it to is entire new circle of friends. During this evening when his beauty subjugates everyone, he admits to Henry that he would like to stay like the paint depict him forever as he is nearly jalous of it and of the admiration that it seems to cause. He ignores the consequences of his words: he just sell his soul to the devil and from that moment, he stop to get older, to bleed or to keep any physical mark. His portait is now the reflect of his soul, putrefying, turning into a monster as he lives more and more in sin.
In this novel, Oscar Wilde deals with the ambiguity of beauty, decay and duplicity, using themes of virtue, vices and evil. He develops there the philosophical doctrine that consist in believe that the research of pleasur is the only aim of human existance : hedonism. His story reminds us Narcisse as narcissism is one of the main point. They are also both afraid by death and added to they obsescion for themselves, they are the only cause of their tragic end.
Critics violently welcomed that novel that offend British moral, in partucular because the writer did not explecitely express his choice between vice and morality. However he answered that a dook can not be moral or immoral, it is just well written or not.