Wilde's Aestheticism; Merely an Artistic Choice or Cynical Reality?.
At the time when The Picture Dorian Gray came out, it met with infinite criticism and aroused such public indignation that it was considered totally immoral. Evil described through the beauty of Dorian Gray and Wilde's condemnation of Victorian society's way of life were both taken as elements against Wilde at his trial.
However, when accused of indecent behaviour, Oscar Wilde defended himself in his short famous speech at the trial by saying that his love for Lord Alfred Douglas dare not speak its name' and went on to aestheticise homosexuality by mentioning the Platonic idealisation of homosexual love. .
And it is exactly his idealisation of homosexuality that appears to be the mask' that Oscar Wilde wore. Wilde's aestheticism detests Nature and praises Art, which is artificiality. This principle can be found in Dorian Gray. He tries, and succeeds, to transform his life into a work of art by which he could escape from all conventional moralities and theories, but quite unfortunately he ends up leading a life of vice and immorality owing to his indulging excessively in sordid things. As Dorian uses his physical appearance in order to indulge himself in whatever he desired, Wilde used his aestheticism as a screen, so that he might indulge himself in his sexual orientation, to which Wilde gave a right of existence in fiction and in his private life, hidden away from society. Whether explicitly or implicitly, The Picture of Dorian Gray does bear Wilde's mask. Oscar Wilde said,"˜ Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Oscar Wilde always sought experience rather than the fruits of it, because it taught people what to follow and what to avoid. It was the only way that Wilde could arrive at an analysis of his passions. There had been a constant curiosity and desire that made Widle yield to any temptation.