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"The Picture of Dorian Gray" Chapter 2, analysis

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Introduction

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" by O.Wilde Chapter 2 analysis "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, a dramatic story of a beautiful young man Dorian Gray who keeps his good looks while his portrait changes to reflect its subject's vice and degradation. The extract under consideration begins in Basil's studio, where the artist finishes the portrait of Dorian Gray. When Dorian looks at the painting, he is quite impressed, as if he sees himself for the first time. He first recognizes the extraordinary beauty and youth in the portrait and then is pained by the thought of losing it. Dorian envies the figure in the painting, saying that he would give his soul to be young forever as the painting will be. ...read more.

Middle

The heavy scent of the roses seemed to brood over everything." \ "...he walked over to the deal painting-table that was set beneath the high curtained window..."); or the description of Dorian's appearance and his reaction to the portrait ("...his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure... a look of joy came into his eyes... he stood there motionless and in wonder..."\ "His eyes deepened into amethyst, and across them came a mist of tears" \ "...his golden head...pallid face and tear-stained eyes..."). In his deep and vivid descriptions, Wilde is really generous in using bright epithets ("...charming exaggeration of friendship" \ "ivory Hermes...silver Faun") and even personification ("the dust danced" / "The scarlet would pass away from his lips and the gold steal from his hair"). The choice of words is also worth mentioning (panegyric, vermilion, pallid). ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, lexical repetition of the words "jealous" ("I am jealous of everything"... "I am jealous of the portrait"), "mock" ("It will mock me some day -- mock me horribly!"), "young", "old" or phrases like "How sad it is!" conveys Dorian's enormous concern about getting old and horrible, while the portrait will remain young and beautiful. The wide usage of exclamations and parallel constructions, emphatic conjunction "if" ("If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young..."/ "...if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now!"), and rhetorical questions ("Why should it keep what I must lose?"/ "How long will you like me?") only accentuates Dorian's strong feelings of jealousy and desperation. In general, the given extract is very important in the novel, as it uncovers its major motifs and themes: the relationships between youth and mortality, good and evil, beauty and morality, influence and corruption. ...read more.

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