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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Trevor Kinblom AP English The Picture of Dorian Gray Essay Relevance a novel has to today's society does not hinge on the year that the book was written, but if the novel's topic is still pertinent to the problems society faces. This is the case for Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Even though Dorian Gray was first published in, 1891 over a hundred years ago several of the evils of society Wilde explores in Dorian Gray still exist today. Two of society's downfalls that Wilde brings to light in Dorian Gray are the topic of homosexuality and the veneration of youth and beauty. Wilde was a homosexual himself when he wrote this book; and being a homosexual at the time was outlawed. Wilde used the topic of homosexuality in Dorian Gray to show Victorian society that homosexuality was more wide spread than people would admit and that homosexuals are people too. The topic on homosexuality is still relevant today because lawmakers are constantly debating on how homosexual rights and liberties. Wilde's view on the veneration of youth and beauty also holds true today, there are always people buying products that are marketed as 'beautifying creams' and 'wrinkle removers', people also will have plastic surgery performed to remove deformities or the toll aging has taken on their body. Those are just two ways out of several that people today use to help prevent aging and to hold on to their youth and beauty for as long as possible. ...read more.


At the time, Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray members of the British Government felt that it was necessary and moral to outlaw homosexual behavior and lifestyle. Even today over 200 year's later lawmakers are still debating over the rights of homosexuals. Today homosexuals are not put into prison for there actions as in to late 1700s' but homosexual's do not have the same number of rights and benefits that heterosexual's have available to them. For example, a homosexual couple cannot legally get married, while a heterosexual couple can. Through marriage, heterosexuals receive tax and insurance breaks, benefits that homosexual couples cannot receive. In Dorian Gray Wilde was hoping that homosexuals in his time would receive better treatment and that they would have rights in society not to be treated as an outcast. Wilde also wanted to bring some of societies downfalls to light and that society alter its behavior. Veneration of youth and beauty is a theme that Wilde explored in his novel. His main character Dorian traded his soul to remain forever young and beautiful. Wilde was saying that people would do anything to remain young and beautiful. Society today also adores youth and beauty. Women are constantly squandering money on cosmetic surgeries to have their breasts enlarged, their noses reshaped, or having their flab removed through liposuction. Through dialect in Dorian Gray, Wilde gave us a glimpse at what he felt societies view of youth and beauty and how it is adored. ...read more.


Our society needs to change in this way of thinking; everyone should be treated equally no matter if they are fat or skinny, ugly or attractive. People should not be judged solely on looks, a persons character and morals should be the main factor, in deciding if they are a good person or not. Even though The Picture of Dorian Gray was written over 100 years ago, the certain issues Wilde addresses still hold true today. Homosexuality was taboo when Wilde wrote about it in 1890 and even today, it is a touchy subject. Homosexuals rights were non-existent in Wilde's time, and since then there has some progress pertaining to the rights of homosexuals. When lawmakers can agree that, everyone should have equal rights regardless of their sexual preference. But it is not only the lawmakers that have to realize this it is also heterosexual society that must accept that homosexual's should be treated as equals. Veneration of youth and beauty has existed for centuries and will exist for centuries to come unless people realize that youth is not the only form of beauty. There is beauty that comes with old age; it might not be a physical beauty, but the beauty of wisdom, and reverence that comes with age. When society realizes this, beauty will fall from its pedestal, and people will be more comfortable with who they really are, and people will be accepted for their ideals not their appearance. Until society changes these undesirable aspects, The Picture of Dorian Gray will remain relevant to society and its shortcomings. ...read more.

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