The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)

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Be the first to like this. No Downloads. Views Total views. Actions Shares. Embeds 0 No embeds. Lord Henry answers that he understands, but he is more interested in Basil's reason for not exhibiting the portrait.

CliffsNotes on Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray by Stanley P. Baldwin | Waterstones

Basil responds that any painting done with true feeling reveals more of the artist than it does the subject. He fears that the painting will reveal the secret of his soul.

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  6. Basil explains how he met Dorian at Lady Brandon's home. He felt terror upon first seeing Dorian because he sensed that the young man's personality was so powerful that it could absorb him. More important, Dorian inspires a fresh approach to art in Basil, allowing him to produce the best work of his professional life.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)

    Because Basil worries that the public will detect his personal and artistic idolatry of Gray, he will not exhibit the portrait. Echoing a basic tenet of Aestheticism, he suggests that an artist should create beautiful work for its own sake; art shouldn't mean anything. He dismisses artists and critics who see art as a means for biographical expression, and he refuses to have his work thought of in that way. When Lord Henry expresses his desire to meet Gray, Basil explains that he wants to keep Dorian and the painting hidden away so that neither Dorian nor the world will ever know about his "curious artistic idolatry.

    At that moment, the butler enters, announcing the arrival of Dorian, and Lord Henry laughs that they must meet now. Before entering the studio where Dorian is waiting, Basil asks Lord Henry not to influence or take away the person who inspires him as an artist. Chapter 1 introduces two of the major characters of the book, and the reader learns a good deal about them. Basil is an artist of apparently independent means. He is secretive, and Wilde even mentions that Basil has disappeared without notice in the past.

    In addition, the distinctive toss of his head, the one that "used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford," characterizes Basil as someone who is thought of as an odd, yet endearing, fellow. Although Basil claims to be independent, he is instantly overpowered by Dorian upon meeting him, becoming dependent on Dorian immediately as his muse, spirit, art, and life.

    Basil's attraction to Dorian seems to be both professional and personal. Dorian inspires Basil to a new vision of art, combining Greek perfection with Romantic passion. However, there is every implication of something more personal in the attraction. Basil is also a jealous person, wanting to keep Dorian from Lord Henry so that he can have Dorian all to himself.

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    The other main character introduced in Chapter 1 is Lord Henry Wotton, a very intelligent, confident, manipulative man. He decadently smokes opium-tainted cigarettes and has a commanding presence no matter where he is or whom he socializes with.

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    He is very judgmental and enjoys sounding profound. Like Wilde himself, Lord Henry often speaks in aphorisms. As he speaks with Basil, Lord Henry picks a daisy from the grass to examine it, later pulling the daisy apart, an act that symbolizes his role throughout the novel as a manipulator and destroyer of beauty for his own amusement. Although it may seem strange to categorize a painting as a character, Basil's portrait of Dorian plays such an important role in the book that the reader is actually introduced to the painting as if it were a character before meeting Dorian himself.

    Perhaps Wilde is indicating that Dorian's reputation for physical beauty precedes him and is more important to his character than any other attribute. In any case, the presence of the portrait in Chapter 1 allows the reader to hear something about Dorian before his character appears in the novel.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)
    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)
    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)
    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)
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    The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes) The Picture of Dorian Gray (Cliffs Notes)

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