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Dorian Gray - Aestheticism

            The novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a tale of moral corruption by the means of aesthetic beauty. In this novel, Basil Hallward presented a young Dorian Gray with a portrait of himself. After speaking with Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian made a wish that changed his life forever. This story emphasizes its disapproval over the love over aesthetics, which has many negative impacts on the main characters and their lives. The three key characters meet some form of personal tragedy as a result of their love for aesthetics. Basil Hallward's aestheticism is visible in his dedication to his artistic creations. It is Dorian's love for physical beauty and carefree lifestyle that destroys the lives of all who he comes in contact with. It is these physical obsessions that destroy the lives of each character in this novel. .
             Upon the creation of the portrait of Dorian, Basil showed his creation to Lord Henry. Basil refused the idea to display the portrait with the excuse that, "I have put too much of myself into it" (2). Basil further demonstrated the extent to which he felt by later stating that, "the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself." (4). Lord Henry Wotton criticizes Basil Hallward for saying that, "An artist should create beautiful things but should put nothing of his own life into them" (9). The purpose of Basil Hallward's existence is that he is an aesthete determined to become one with his art. In a way Basil uses his art to show how he feels about the person who is posing for him. Basil put all of his heart into the painting of Dorian and for this reason he became scared that others may realize how he truly feels for Dorian. It is this portrait, which Basil refuses to display that provided Dorian with the notion that his actions are of no consequence. Dorian soon realizes after the death of Sybil Vane that his wish had come true. As result of this Dorian murders Basil when he discovers the secret behind the aging painting.

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