The lack of moral definition of the word gray is predominantly represented in the novel through Dorian’s superficial ways considering beauty, youth and pleasure the most important aspects of life. This superficiality of Dorian’s is represented in one of the novel’s most important excerpts in which Dorian fears age and its consequences vowing to sell himself, his soul and anything else to remain beautiful and young forever as seen in the following, “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful.
But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June… If It were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that-for that-I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the world I would not give! I would give my soul for that”(29). This lack of his good senses of what truly is important and of respectable principles connect to his name Gray and how it implies this specific characteristic.
Another example of Dorian’s lack of values, his “grayness”, that become almost omnipresent in the novel after Dorian meets Lord Henry is his relationship with the young actress Sybil Vane and its superficial roots mentioned on page 98 when Dorian says, “I loved you because you were marvelous, because you had genius and intellect, because you realized the dreams of great poets and gave shape and substance to the shadows of art. You have thrown it all away. You are shallow and stupid”(98).
Dorian falls in love with Sybil’s acting talent and not herself, he sees her as a trophy wanting “to place her on a pedestal of gold” for the “world to worship the woman who is mine ” (87). If Dorian were a man of morals and good-hearted principles he would never love at such a superficial level and have such shameful conduct especially with his remarks. If he truly loved Sybil he would want her independent of her acting and independent of what others thought of her. His shallowness is the true definition of gray.
Authors recurrently search for techniques to develop either themes, plot, motifs, or characters in novels, attempting originality at their every choice. Oscar Wilde excels in developing subliminally the characterization of his protagonist, Dorian Gray, with the characters very own name. However, he does this characterization in a veiled manner and a reader will only attempt to analyze the character’s name once he encounters Wilde’s phrase that “names are everything”(223) in which he hints to the reader how much a name can say about a person.
Wilde did not just name Dorian Gray for any reason, the reasoning can be discovered once the reader understands this technique of his and searches for the meaning of names. Dorian Gray is truly a man of conflicting emotions that lacks morals, as stated in his own name. This is perhaps one of Wilde’s most genius connections, the work of a literature mastermind. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.