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Manipulation in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

Manipulation in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

“I do not think that one person influences another, nor do I think there is any bad influence in the world,” Oscar Wilde uttered when under trial (Hyde 353). Although this statement may be true, one of Wilde’s most famous works shows a great deal of the effects of people shaping one another, causing one to wonder about Wilde’s sincerity in that statement. The Picture of Dorian Gray shows variations on the existence and purposes of influence, displaying two types of personal influence: obvious manipulations such as that of Lord Henry upon Dorian and that of Dorian over Sybil Vane, and those that are more often overlooked such as the more subtle manipulation of Dorian over Basil, of Dorian over Lord Henry, and in the interaction between Dorian and his portrait. Wilde demonstrates the many possible impacts made in these two categories, proving that there is more to a relationship than an outside viewer may perceive, and eventually leading the reader to the unavoidable morbid ending of the book, in which the characters meet their own pathetic ends, with Dorian Gray committing what could be considered a ghastly suicide. Taking into account Wilde?s own life of controversial relationships, this book is especially poignant in its autobiographical suggestions.

Dorian Gray is first described as a naïve and attractive young boy, with a striking resemblance to Adonis, having the physical description of a Greek god. The beauty and innocence of youth cause him to be quite attractive, and the fact that he is unaware of the power of this beauty is even more appealing. Dorian?s beauty is the source of Basil Hallward?s obsession, which peaks in the act of Hallward painting Do…

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…rinceton University Press, 1967. Twentieth Century Criticism, Volume 41. Pages 353-60.

Shewan, Rodney. Oscar Wilde: Art and Egotism. The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1977.

Excerpted in Twentieth Century Criticism, Volume 41. Pages 374-84.

Spivey, Ted. R. “Oscar Wilde and the Tragedy of Symbolism,” The Journey Beyond Tragedy: A Study of Myth and Modern Fiction. Copyright 1980, Board of Regents of the State of Florida, University Presses of Florida, 1980. Twentieth Century Criticism, Volume 41. Pages 501-2.

Summers, Claude J. “In Such Surrender There May Be Gain: Oscar Wilde and the Beginnings of Gay Fiction, ” Gay Fiction: Wilde to Stonewall, Studies in Male Homosexual Literacy Tradition, Continuum, 1990. Excerpted in Twentieth Century Criticism, Volume 41. Pages 398-401.

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oxford University Press, New York. 1994

Renewal in Yeats’ Second Coming and Eliot’s Journey of the Magi

Renewal in Yeats’ Second Coming and Eliot’s Journey of the Magi

Both William Butler Yeats’ “Second Coming” and T.S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” present a renewal process, but each one focuses on different goals and subjects; Eliot on a particular person’s transformation, whereas Yeats predicts a renovation of the entire world as a result of an escalation of chaos. And while Yeats attempts to present a definite picture of what he believes will happen at the time of this renovation, as a human being, lack of foresight leaves him to conclude with nothing more than an unanswerable question. Eliot, on the other hand, uses ambiguity to support and develop his theme: death is the way to rebirth. But for Eliot this rebirth, which must be necessarily obscure, is full of doubt, accompanied by pain, and extremely perplexing to the newly-born (www.fgcu* 6). Eliot utilizes a vague diction and imagery, and his narrative tone progresses to philosophical and doubtful discourse. In contrast, Yeats maintains a pessimistic tone created by his futility on the bleak situation toward which the world proceeds. As opposed to projecting an inevitable and pessimistic demise of the Christian era and a renewal of the world as Yeats does in his poem, “Second Coming,” Eliot presents the renewal of a Magus, his way of life and beliefs as a result of the birth of the Christian era.

Yeats views the world and civilization as a cycle: the world revolves on a two thousand year period, and restarts every two thousand years (“Twenty centuries . . . come round at last”). Yeats’ view may lead to an initial response of the inescapableness of the world’s end, and therefore no need for concern, but his pessimistic outlook results from society’s…

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…Eliot’s message, death results in rebirth.

Works Cited…studentprojects/kiplingyeats/falcon.html

Keane, Patrick J. Yeats’s Interactions with Tradition. Columbia: University of Missouri Press,


Peterson, Richard F. William Butler Yeats. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.

Pinion, F.B. A T.S. Eliot Companion. Totowa, New Jersey: Barnes and Noble Books,1986.

Raffel, Burton. T.S Eliot. New York: Frederick Publishing Co., 1982.

Unterecker, John. A Reader’s Guide to William Butler Yeats. New York: Octagon Publishers,


Williamson, George. A Reader’s Guide to T.S. Eliot; a Poem by Poem Analysis. New York:

Octagon Books, 1966.

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