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Picture of Dorian Gray literary essay; Dorian's Internal Suicide


DariusVassel15 3 / 6  
Nov 1, 2009   #1
I am looking for some feedback/help on my essay on Wilde's work. The prompt I must use is describing how a scene where death occurs illuminates the characters and the meaning of the work as a whole.

Dorian's Internal Suicide

Death is frequently used in literature to illuminate the true nature of the characters and the work as a whole. Oscar Wilde, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, creates the character of Dorian, a youthful boy infatuated by a corrupt older man's ideas. Wilde through the use of metaphor, symbolism and personification exhibits how Dorian's intrinsic death is a result of murdering Basil Hallward, therefore foreshadowing the end of the book.

Dorian's flawless physical appearance masks his internal non-existence. Wilde renders Basil's appearance as a dead man, who externally resembles a living entity "The thing was still seated in the chair, straining over the table with a bowed head and humped back and long fantastic arms, had it not been for the red jagged tear in the neck, and the clotted black pool that was slowly widening... one would have said he was simply asleep" (116). Basil is depicted in death as continuing to sit in his chair; this phrase is a metaphor for continuing to appear alive whilst death has been met. The extraordinary arms portray how even in death, physical form can be splendid. This parallels Dorian's being, for he is physically unmarred, yet within him festers death. The death of Basil at the hands of Dorian parades irony, for Basil is the only bridge upon which Dorian can return to his former pure and innocent self, thus, Dorian killed his intrinsic self with his actions. The pool of blood is described as black; this unorthodox description is cleverly used to convey a sense of death. This grim feeling forecasts Dorian's physical demise in the final stages of the novel.

Following Dorian's murder of Basil he is enveloped in an onslaught of death. "For a few seconds he stood bending over the balustrade and peering down into the black seething well of darkness. Then he took out the key and returned to the room, locking himself in as he did so"(116). Dorian stares into a seething abyss of darkness, symbolizing death and how Dorian has been flooded by it. Dorian locking himself inside a room mirrors the encasement of Dorian's soul within death, due to his sinful act towards Basil. Dorian's choice to enclose himself embodies Dorian's own decision to kill Basil, thus killing himself. The repetitive characteristics of the balustrade, lack of human presence and silence, all enrich the deprivation of life within the room. This parallel to Dorian's own internal non-existence is clearly apparent. Cleverly, Dorian's interior death prophesizes the penultimate scene of the book in which Dorian physically dies on account of exterminating his own portrait.

Wilde draws many correlations between the deaths of Basil and Dorian, exposing how both are results of Dorian's actions. "The Woodwork creaked, and seemed to cry out as if in pain. He stopped several times, and waited. No: everything was still. It was merely the sound of his own footsteps" (117). The anguish emitted from the stairs personifies the feeling of pain within Dorian, outlined by the realization it was his own footsteps causing the floor to creak. The fact he hears his own footsteps as the culprit indicates Dorian himself is responsible for the pain and internal demise he is experiencing. Wilde's reiteration of the stillness continues to exposit the state of lifelessness. Through Dorian's pain, his murder of Basil causes himself both internally and physiologically to become a non-living being.

Thank you in advance for any comments or suggestions!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 4, 2009   #2
Your MLA is correct, you write beautifully... I suggest, though, an explanatory sentence between the first 2 sentences. Your 1st sentences raises a question, "what does he mean by 'illuminate'?"... so, give one short sentence of explanation there before introducing the title of Wilde's work.

Adding that sentence will give definition to your thesis. The first paragraph is like the essays'h head, where the brain is. It's most important, so add definition. You already write very well, please consider being an EF_Contributor! :)) (looks good on applications).

The conclusion paragraph should have less summary and more reflection... in fact, it seems that you need one more paragraph -- a conclusion to reflect on the main idea you conveyed in the brain of the essay.
OP DariusVassel15 3 / 6  
Nov 4, 2009   #3
Thank you! Pertaining to the intro, good idea it will definitely help the flow. Here is a revised essay with the third body paragraph. Again I would greatly appreciate any more suggestions.

By the way my paper does not require a conclusion...fortunately.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 6, 2009   #4
Wilde through the use of metaphor, symbolism and personification exhibits how Dorian's intrinsic death is a result of murdering Basil Hallward, therefore foreshadowing the end of the book.

Now that is a good clear thesis sentence!

Let's make it flow better, though:
Wilde Through the use of metaphor, symbolism and personification, Wilde exhibits ...

You really seem to have the right idea about this kind of writing. Now you are ready to tackle any research paper they throw at you. Even when the subect is not literature, it works the same way: grab the attention, make a claim, and write several paragraphs to support your argument in various ways. That is strong.
OP DariusVassel15 3 / 6  
Nov 6, 2009   #5
Thanks, essay is handed in.
I hope it receives a decent mark.

Kevin thanks for your comments.


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