Is 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' a "story with a moral?" Watch

blueeyedgirl
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After much criticism, Oscar Wilde stated the The Picture of Dorian Gray was 'a story with a moral.' Has anyone read the novel, and if so, do you agree?
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InsaneRain
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Yes I would definitely say that The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story with a moral. Dorian Gray commits many bad acts, which destroy his soul and his conscience eventually gets the better of him and he kills himself. Oscar Wilde is effectively saying that you must live your life in a good and true way, if you don't, then you will destroy any happiness that you can have in life.
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Leon Trotsky
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Yeah, just don't be vain and that.
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Dunc1
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Dorian Gray is amoral.
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Roger Mexico
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Here's an idea, OP: Read 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. It's Oscar Wilde, so it's hardly a complicated book to read. Jesus.
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georgejohnston
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I think the novel is a private joke between Wilde and personal friends. The preface, written by Wilde, clearly states that no book should have a moral as introduced by the "fin de siecle", and yet we read into the novel and find a moral. This can be well reflected in the character of Lord Henry Wooton as he often talks and offers advice but never quite seriously and he shouldn't be believed.
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g_star_raw_1989
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Depends how you read into it.

Issues such as vanity, how beauty is only skin deep and how time will eventually catch up with you are all intertwined so you could take some sort of "moral" lesson from that.
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Daydreamer18
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Yeah, I'd say so.
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ForgettingWhatsername
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It's a tough one, because in the Preface he explicitly says that there is no such thing as a 'moral or an 'immoral' book, only good and bad books. However, I would say that there is quite an explicit moral in the story - Dorian Gray does end up getting punished for his egotism, vanity, unhealthy obsession with youthfulness, and his decadence and profligacy. Basically the society that Dorian and Lord Henry live in is revealed as an empty sham - even when Dorian does a 'good act', the portrait still gets worse because he only did something good out of hypocrisy and for the novelty of it. So yeah, there is a definite sense that no matter how good you are at covering up your sins and appearing 'good' to the outside world, in the end your soul (represented in the novel by the painting) will become rotten through and through and bear the consequences of your actions.
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Ricardo_
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Yeah, the moral is vanity leads to corruption, and corruption leads to tragedy.
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ArcadiaHouse
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(Original post by Roger Mexico)
Here's an idea, OP: Read 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. It's Oscar Wilde, so it's hardly a complicated book to read. Jesus.
Someone hold me back.

No one insults my bb :angry:
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Roger Mexico
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(Original post by ArcadiaHouse)
Someone hold me back.

No one insults my bb :angry:
Wait, who's your bb? What's a bb? Where was the insult?
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someonesomewherexx
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Well, what I got from the book(movie :mmm:) was that, the repercussions of your immoral actions/lies/wrong doings you might not get now, but the consequences of those behaviours/activities are eating away at hidden aspects of your life only you can see, but you turn away from (like the painting dorian locked away that was decaying) until it all comes to a head. I don't know if it qualifies as a story with a moral though.
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Roger Mexico
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(Original post by someonesomewherexx)
movie

I don't think so Tim.
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someonesomewherexx
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(Original post by Roger Mexico)
I don't think so Tim.
Tim? Is that supposed to be some figure of speech :confused:
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cyre
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No, I very much doubt Oscar Wilde meant to deter anyone from hedonism, no matter how much tragic consequences he tacked on. I think the message is that hedonism and tragedy are both much nicer than doing nothing exciting at all, which is more amoral than immoral, but certainly not traditionally ethical.
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Colour Me Pretty
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(Original post by ForgettingWhatsername)
It's a tough one, because in the Preface he explicitly says that there is no such thing as a 'moral or an 'immoral' book, only good and bad books. However, I would say that there is quite an explicit moral in the story - Dorian Gray does end up getting punished for his egotism, vanity, unhealthy obsession with youthfulness, and his decadence and profligacy. Basically the society that Dorian and Lord Henry live in is revealed as an empty sham - even when Dorian does a 'good act', the portrait still gets worse because he only did something good out of hypocrisy and for the novelty of it. So yeah, there is a definite sense that no matter how good you are at covering up your sins and appearing 'good' to the outside world, in the end your soul (represented in the novel by the painting) will become rotten through and through and bear the consequences of your actions.
I was just thinking about this. I suppose one could argue that the moral of the story is subjective to the reader. I mean, one reader could argue that there is a moral of the story in that Dorian' soul is destroyed etc etc. Although another reader could argue that Dorian got a fair deal - he may have given up his soul but he got to experience things no average human would have been able to withstand.

So, yeah, you could say there is a moral within the story, but it's subjective to the reader. When you read the preface when Wilde says there are only good or bad books...well it's open to interpretation. It's entirely plausible that there isn't a moral, and Wilde's aim was to simply write a good book, and it's the reader who looks for the moral.
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The Hedonist
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There is no 'moral'. L'art pour l'art.
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ForgettingWhatsername
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(Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
I was just thinking about this. I suppose one could argue that the moral of the story is subjective to the reader. I mean, one reader could argue that there is a moral of the story in that Dorian' soul is destroyed etc etc. Although another reader could argue that Dorian got a fair deal - he may have given up his soul but he got to experience things no average human would have been able to withstand.

So, yeah, you could say there is a moral within the story, but it's subjective to the reader. When you read the preface when Wilde says there are only good or bad books...well it's open to interpretation. It's entirely plausible that there isn't a moral, and Wilde's aim was to simply write a good book, and it's the reader who looks for the moral.
Good point. I think it's quite likely that even Wilde himself wasn't entirely sure if Dorian Gray had a moral or not
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reddiechin82
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To me the moral is: You can't run from you sins, they'll eventually catch up with you and destroy you, one way or the other.
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