* a classic book where the story is less important than the concept behind it
The only true art is the one done for its own sake and the worst type of art is the one done in the name of morality. This is the message Oscar Wilde seems to put forward in The Picture of Dorian Gray. A book about art, beauty and morality, The Picture of Dorian Gray becomes more than a novel – it becomes a guidebook of aesthetics.
Dorian Gray – the main character impersonates the battle between art and ethics. A young beautiful arrogant man that reminds us of Narcissus, Dorian Gray is driven by two values: beauty and youth. It is this drive that determines Dorian to make a Faustian pact with his own portrait: he would rather have his portrait suffering the burden of getting old and lacking beauty.
However, the pact cannot be harmless because the question of morality intervenes. The more Dorian Gray sins, the more the portrait shows it. Even though it is hidden from society, it is not hidden from Dorian Gray’s eyes. But if the portrait is in pain, can Dorian Gray live without that pain? Can Dorian Gray live with a clean consciousness just because he is gifted with so much beauty? Moreover, Oscar Wilde seems to ask, can any human being become an aesthetic example, hence lacking morality?