9TH ISSUE Our Life and Literature

Oscar’s Dorian Gray : A Victim Or Victimizer

Maryam Qureshi

Dorian in “The Picture Of Dorian Gray” has always been renowned for his worship of infinite passions since its first publication in 1890. In the eyes of the readers or spectators Dorian always appeared as the portrayal of devil in the disguise of a human. The bad aspects of his character are criticized deliberately. That seems to be the biased elaboration of a true victim.

Earlier in the novel, Dorian was a person “unspotted from the world”. All the candor of youth was there, as well as all youth’s passionate purity. But later Basil’s worship for him and Henry’s influence upon him transformed him into “an echo of someone else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him”. In a real sense Henry gave him his own soul. “He does not think his natural thoughts”. He made him think believe that the idea of joy is to forget all the melodies of medievalism and return
back to the Hellenic ideal.

Henry’s few words made Dorian’s heart vibrating and throbbing to curious pulses. His words had some sort of subtle magic in them. Lord Henry had merely shot an arrow into the air, which hit the mark perfectly. Dorian tried to avoid the influence of Henry’s conflicting ideas but he found no way out. There had come someone across his life who seemed to have disclosed to him life’s mystery. It was Lord Henry who made him believe that he had the most marvelous youth.

According to Henry, “beauty is a form of Genius___ is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of rose who have it. To him, “beauty is the wonder of wonders. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible”.

Henry’s magical words and Basil’s masterpiece had such a powerful influence upon Dorian Gray that when he saw his portrait he dreamed of remaining young forever. While his painted image grew old and in a sudden moment he offered his soul in return for perpetual youth. His beauty remained unblemished the portrait began to reflect the wilderness and degradation of his soul.

As a mere puppet Dorian embraced his demise by becoming the slave of his master or the victimizer Henry.

Had he never met Henry he would have been living differently, like a candle that eliminates darkness and unlike the gray cloud that darkens the sunshine.



Maryam Qureshi holds an MA in English Literature and Linguistics. She is a poet and writer. Her work has appeared in several journals published by Profilic Press Inc. (Publishing house in USA).

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