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The influence of Lord Henry and Basel on Dorian
Lord Henry seems in The Image of Dorian Gray as a mentor and could be viewed as a paternal figure to the young and susceptible Dorian, however, in contrast to Basil, Henry seems nearly totally as a damaging influence in Dorian’s life, driving him to live a morally incorrect life. Henry’s influence upon Dorian is totally derived from the values of the upper class Victorian English society, putting higher significance on art and youth/beauty and obtaining little care for the struggles of other individuals, putting himself on a higher level and living a hedonistic life. Henry tells Dorian “People like you – the wilful sunbeams of life – don’t commit crimes, Dorian” and says “Oh, she is much better than excellent – she is beautiful,” when discussing Sibyl Vane with Basil, each indicative of his lack of morality and shallowness with regards to the critical elements in his life. The energy of utilizing a metaphor to describe Dorian, as a “sunbeam of life” is extremely substantial in assessing the power and influence that Henry holds more than Dorian, becoming in a position to convince him to do, say and believe seemingly something. Henry completely influence’s Dorian’s life in regards to his capability to make Dorian believe whatever he desires, and has forced the notion upon him that beauty and youth will conquer morality and that it weights more heavily than being a excellent particular person, hence creating Henry a device of sin in Dorian’s life.
Straight contrasting with Lord Henry’s unfavorable influence on Dorian’s life, Basil seems to Dorian as a beacon of light and morality, emerging at a time in Dorian’s life exactly where he was possibly as well immersed in Lord Henry’s influence, nonetheless Basil’s influence more than Dorian is evident as the novel continues. Basil is a physical representation of the softer notion of aestheticism, in that he values art and the much more expressive characteristics of life more than the more political or theoretical, but the power of youth, beauty, art and hedonism hasn’t not consumed him in the way it has Lord Henry, and later the way Dorian is consumed by The Yellow Book. Where Henry’s influence and adoration of Dorian relates to his perfection because of his beauty and youth, Basil’s influence and adoration of Dorian stems from his beauty but is magnified by his character and Basil’s opinion on the beauty of his soul, as evidenced in his speech “Dorian, from the moment I met you, your personality had the most extraordinary influence over me. I was dominated, soul, brain, and energy, by you.” The amplification in Basil’s dialogue, extending Dorian’s energy over him from an obsession to a gorgeous sounding worship has an incredible impact on Dorian, hearing of Basil’s enjoy for him, of an astounding and possibly homoerotic nature. Basil in this way attempts to make his influence more than Dorian a single of a positive nature of emotional growth and connectedness rather than a life of hedonism as Henry is trying to sway him to, in that way Basil is arguably a good influence more than Dorian, advertising really like and kindness more than coldness and egotism.
In contrast to earlier statements about Henry being representative of the concept of evil, Henry does genuinely care about Dorian and tries to greater Dorian’s life by way of interjecting his opinions and guiding him. Without having a predominant father figure in his life, (his father obtaining been killed in a duel and subsequently getting raised by his grandfather when his mother died) it is most likely that Dorian reached out towards Henry simply because of the absence of a paternal figure, having only his “wicked” grandfather for guidance, and with out any textual proof of a sturdy partnership among them, it is most likely that Lord Henry was closer to Dorian than his grandfather. In Henry’s eyes, friendship is significantly less about loyalty than it is about enjoying oneself: “’Always!’ That is a dreadful word. It tends to make me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of making use of it. They spoil every single romance by trying to make it final for ever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference among a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a small longer.” The analogy Henry makes to the idea of “always” being like a caprice is a single that invokes excellent believed in Dorian and sways him to accept Lord Henry’s reasoning and reside for the moment, which Henry would have thought would lead to an enjoyable and drastically much less painful life, giving Dorian no expectations of men and women to often keep or live up to their promises and rather take every single day and situation as it comes in order for him to get the most out of his life. This diverges from the idea that Lord Henry is only a negative influence in Dorian’s life and encourages the idea that possibly Lord Henry was just extremely misguided in his guidance of Dorian.
Likewise, with the duality of Lord Henry’s influence, Basil also exhibits a negative influence more than Dorian, feeding his vanity and then complaining about it later. Dorian’s accusation of how Basil only taught Dorian to be vain is accurate to an extent, as Basil did gloat more than Dorian openly and usually whilst he was painting Dorian and following the painting was completed. Dorian’s defense of Henry “I owe a wonderful deal to Harry, Basil,” (…) “more than I owe to you.” Is not only reflective of the novel but also of the events that occurred as a precursor, as far as Dorian meeting and befriending Henry and the tips and guidance Henry gave him up to the points that we are critical of as readers. The language Basil utilizes when speaking to Dorian is often that of an intense infatuation and worship which influences Dorian in the wrong way to grow to be far more egotistical when Basil was aiming to make him far more self aware and to undo Lord Henry’s work in how selfish Dorian is, leaving the audience with a bitter frame of thoughts to see Basil’s downfall and the irony it encompasses.
The influence that both Harry and Basil hold more than Dorian by way of the duration of the novel is eventually a fight of excellent versus evil, altogether, Henry represents evil and immorality, and Basil represents goodness and decency. The morals that they every attempt to impose on Dorian are their personal values derived from the Victorian society in which they lived and though sometimes misguided, both Basil and Lord Henry had their reasoning behind their values and their justification for attempting to etch these values onto their human canvas: Dorian Gray.
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