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Oscar Wilde

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Dipali Patel 21/12/09 Influence of the style and structure in Oscar Wilde's 'The picture of Dorian Gray' How does the style and structure of Oscar Wilde's 'The picture of Dorian Gray' affect your understanding of the novel? Style includes the details of writing, such as choice of diction, use of figures of speech, rhythm, tone and so on. Structure however, includes large matters such as the overall construction of a story, like the plot, events and climax. In Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray', the style of writing is very unique, the choice of language is interesting, there is a lot of use of figures of speech and there is a creation of distinct sound and sound patterns. The structure of the book is also compelling, there are matters of suspense and creation of drama which consequently lead to a climax. In 'Dorian Gray' these two areas seem to contradict eachother, the style could be shown to lead to amoral aestheticism, and the structure could be shown to lead to immoral values. The following essay is an attempt to probe and analyse these two areas and see how they affect ones understanding of the novel and if possible, to find a synthesis between the two. Aestheticism mainly came about during the Victorian era, where Aesthetes believed life had to be lived intensely, and people gave far more importance to the beauty of things. ...read more.


world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about', he also uses wit, most of these witticisms occur in dialogue spoken by Lord Henry, 'She is a peacock in everything but beauty.' And 'Books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame'. He makes extensive use of epigrams and aphorisms, along with figures of speech such as simile and metaphor which are freely employed in the dialogue, 'She crouched on the floor like a wounded thing'. The novel is filled to the brim with description. There is use of lush, sensual description. Lord Henry's philosophy of life is that senses should be induldged to the full, this is how on can experience the intensity of life. This, however, is not just a mindless indulgence but simply a pursuit for beauty. Dorian also believes this, 'They had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic'. The novel also contains the description of exclusive objects, ideal rooms and beautiful furniture, 'With a vermillion and gold ceiling and walls of olive green lacquer'. There are many figures of speech in the novel, 'The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses', as well as this, symbols have also been used, Lord Henry's 'Opium-tainted cigarette', could represent his corruption tainted lifestyle. ...read more.


The paragraphs above with their examples of Wilde's style are aesthetic in purpose. Wilde employs adhective trios, alliteration, rhythm, epigrams, comedy and allusions with the intention of creating sensual pleasure. He does not intend to promote any ethical or philosophical point of view. However, this is not true of his use of structure in the novel. In the first ten chapters, the structure is balanced with Lord Henry's early influence on Dorian and Dorian's life as an adult in the last ten chapters. In the first half, Lord Henry indeed proves a bad influence for Dorian, as he begins to follow him in the pursuit for pleasure, they become involved in improper behaviour, which destroys Dorian's innocence and purity. Lord Henry looks to take advantage of Dorian and Basil also begs Henry to stay away by saying, 'Don't spoil him. Don't try to influence him. Your influence would be bad. The world is wide and has many marvellous people in it. Don't take away from me the one person who gives to my art whatever charm it possesses'. In the last ten chapters, the consequences of Lord Henry's influence is shown as Dorian is corrupted, from a beautiful young boy to a guilty old man, even though his appearance is the same, his soul, seen in the painting, has become distorted and grotesque. But Dorian can be only blamed for his naivety and lack of suspicion. Dorian's moral decay is mirrored by the physical decay of the picture. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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