The Secret of the Portrait

In the novel, murder depicts a sense of literary criticism. Hallward is murdered by Dorian. The main reason for his death is simply because he disclosed the secret of Dorian portrait that he had concealed for a long time. Thus, by revealing the secret of the portrait, Hallward creates his own grave. Wilde refers to him as a monster of his own destruction where he is killed by his own misjudgment. Sibyl Vane is another character who is living in her own world. Literary, she lives in the world of make-believe and melodrama. She is unable to accept the reality that she has been rejected by Dorian. Literary, critic is seen in this juncture as Sibyl acts as a heroine addicted yet she does not triumph at the end as it should be the case. She decides to leave acting, however, she is drawn back by Dorian statement that she is nothing without acting (Lawler 69). Unfortunately, Sibyl decides to commit suicide. She hoped to act like Juliet in Romeo. However, she didn’t have the chance to accomplish her dream. Instead, she dies like Ophelia. She swallows prussic acid that caused her death.

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Dorian aims at driving many people to suicide before he destroys his own portrait and commit suicide. Many people suffer from Dorian`s actions and ends up beings victims of murder. Dorian asks, “Is insincerity such a terrible thing? I think not. It is merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities” (Wilde 160). Therefore, it is evident that most people end up being victims of Dorian as he does not seem to be who he really is. He is insincere in his actions. His aim is to ensure that most of characters end up in their grave.

Aesthetic value

The concept of Aesthetic is seen through the portrait. There is a relationship between art and artistry. The portrait is said to contain a beautiful picture of a young man. The portrait helps in supporting the interpretation of other themes in the novel. The major criticism drawn from the picture is that the audience is unable to understand what the image tries to communicate in details. Surprisingly, the portrait results in death of many characters. Wilde argues that the work of art used in the novel aims at concealing the deeper meaning. On the other hand, it is used in explaining the artist’s life. For example, Hallward during his course of painting the portrait adores the picture and it is something that makes Dorian kill him. The portrait communicates a form of love that is destroyed by corrupt Dorian`s mind (Wilde 120).

The portrait also communicates the morality and immorality values. . The illusion created in the audience mind while reading the novel is that it is corrupting. Notably, the portrait shows Hallward soul while at the same time concealing Dorian`s one. Hallward sees his own reflection. As he finishes the painting, his perception about the portrait is changed as he sees that the portrait has the eyes of the devil. This automatically represents Dorian who has monstrous thought (Ellmann 201). Indeed, the art reveals the same interpretation to the audience as Dorian turns to be the real devil killing many characters. The portrait has social implications presenting some difficulties in life. This depends on the interpretations given to the portrait by the audience. For example, Dorian`s picture represents various challenges that the characters go through. Dorian commits murders as he is not in the right sense. He rediscovers his conscience towards the end of the novel. He ends up committing suicide. Other characters also go through difficulties. For example, Sibyl aspires to be a great actor as in Juliet in Romeo (Wilde 23) However; she is discouraged by her lover, Dorian. She decides to make a stupid approach of destroying her life.

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Initially, the novel was criticized due to its content. It was termed to be scandalous and immoral. Aestheticism is vividly evident in the novel through literary criticisms. The sensibility of characters such as Dorian brings the bigger picture of how some people can lead other to doom without their knowledge. Critics argue that the novel does not represent the ethical and the right morals (Rogers 28). It does not have the intrinsic value. They argue that the novel should enforce moral and political aspects. However, it is the inverse. It entails an immoral action such as a murder. A popular opinion was held by most people that the art did not aim at portraying the work of morality but also enforcing it (Ellmann 56). The novel also entails a lot of meanings “beneath the surface”. This makes it hard to understand some concepts. It mainly focuses on the relationship between art and morality. It is a comedy of manner although a lot of tragic happenings are evident. Therefore, the novel continues to present the reader with questions about the sequence of occurrences in the novel (Lawler 21). This leads to development of diverse opinions about the central theme of this work of art. Another critic is seen when we find Wilde having a homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas. This led to the development of several scandals something that is highly criticized.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of Oscar Wilde`s novels that presents several concepts of literary criticisms. This is depicted through the protagonist, the portrait among other characters in the novel. Dorian presents the portrait as he seeks to protect it at whatever means. He even goes to an extent of killing Hallward who tries to reveal the secret behind the portrait. This truth involves the fact that Dorian is like a monster. His behavior in killing people is like that of the devil as Hallward saw in the eyes of the picture after he had finished painting it. Therefore, the portrait plays the central role and leads to development of the novel. Although it results in murder, some critics’ ague that it does not only present immorality but is also entails moral values.


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