Thursday, February 21, 2008

ch. 1-4

Compare and contrast the characters we have met so far to Oscar Wilde and the Victorian Era.

16 comments:

katherineg said...

The characters that we have met so far are Dorian Gray, Lord Harry, and Basil. They all have an essence of Oscar Wilde in them. For example, Dorian Gray, is extremely vain and interested in only what is socially elite. Lord Harry is extremely intellegent and tries to influence peoples opinions much like Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde uses his writing in order to potray his ideas, but requests that people dont look into it but instead use them to form your own opinions. Basil, the more reserved painter, is also a representative of Oscar Wilde. He shows an essence of homosexuality, and seems to be extremely concerned with what people think of him, much like Oscar Wilde. I think that each character represents the different aspects of Oscar Wilde's personality, and his experiences throughout life.

EmmaL said...

Oscar Wilde shows the Victorian era as being all about image. Each character has an idea of what they want other people to see them as, and the conversations between the characters reflects this also. Basil does not want anyone to know his secret, which may be about his sexuality, so he will not show his amazing artwork. Lord Henry is always telling people how to live their lives and goes to many social events in order to show off his intellect. Dorian was not worried about his looks until Henry met him and told him about his looks. Because Dorian found out how far his looks can take him, he may become obsessed with it. In the dialogue between the characters, Oscar Wilde’s opinions and also his contradictions are always present. Each time a character speaks, their words can create a riddle.

CecilyJ said...

The Victorian Era in England was the height of social elitism. This is apparant therough the characters in Oscar Wilde's novel. For example lord Henry and Dorian Gray enjoy such activities as the opera and plays where they can display themselves and their wealth. In Oscar Wilde's novel it is also apparent how vain the Victorian culture is. The main characters in the book all view beauty as the end-all trait to success. While some of this still exists in our sociey today, the Victorian era, in general, took vainity to an extreme. Being young and beautiful equaled success. Basil and Dorian Gray's obsession with this beauty, and lord Henry's infatuation with it defend this aspect of Victorian society.

MilendaN. said...

Oscar Wilde shows the Victorian era as being the Supremacy of Youth and Beauty. Basil, Lord henry, Dorian, and Oscar Wilde all share the same passion for art and beauty. What makes them differ from one another is...Lord Henry is very witty and urbane, Dorian Gray is handsome and wealthy, and Basil is a talented artist.
I think that each of these character represents Oscar Wilde's personality in real life and the experiences that he has gone through.

rebeccar said...

The Victorian Era was a time of drastic change in England. Oscar Wilde definitely represented these changes in his novel. Lord Henry represented the political, economic, and social changes because he had a strong opinion about everything and was very intellectual. He symbolized the “modern” era and through his dialog, illustrated how the world was changing whether his friends/family were ready or not. Henry also “scared” many of the characters in the novel including Dorian, representing how he carries new, intense ideas and philosophies. Basil represents the cultural changes in the period through his natural ability for art. Lord Henry considered some of his works masterpieces and had 18 portraits of Dorian in his house. This shows that the elite and rich loved and appreciated art, and it meant something significant to have popular works in one's house. Finally there is Dorian, who demonstrates the general “attitude” of this period in history. People were drawn to beauty. And the rich and beautiful usually were the best off because as Lord Henry said, the beautiful have it best in the world because they are ignorant and uneducated... (I don't know the exact quote). I also thought it was interesting how Aunt Agatha and all the rich people gave a lot to charity, as it it helped determine their status in society. This certainly represents how the Victorian Era was a time of progression.

ryanb said...

Oscar Wilde, as well as the Victorian age can be seen prominently in Dorian Gray. First off, the Victorian age, as well as Oscar Wilde were somewhat entranced by beauty. Oscar Wilde's passion for beauty as well as intelligence is strongly reflected in his characters. Dorian is obsessed with his looks, Lord Henry is obsessed with his intellect, and Basil to me, represents Wilde's private life. It seems as though Oscar Wilde took important aspects of his life, most of which he obtained through living in the Victorian era, and put them into his characters.

Soo.K said...

The Victorian Age was a time of beauty and high society. During the time, most people were obsessed with how they were viewed in the society. He presents Dorian Gray as a man who is vain and obsessed with how he looks. He treasures his beauty, like most people did back then. But opposite Gray, Lord Henry values his intelligence. He believes that being viewed as intelligent is much more important than being beautiful. Oscar Wilde shows some of his own views through this character by mocking beauty. Wilde seems to think of intelligence and brains over outside appearances. He mocks Gray (the symbol of beauty) with Lord Henry by saying that beauty will disappear as time goes on. With Basil, Wilde reveals his homosexual side. Basil is infatuated with Gray, obviously shown through his description of Gray and how he wants to protect and treasure his "simple and beautiful nature". Wilde presents his personality through these characters who present themselves in the Victorian Era.

Samantha E said...

I feel every character represents a bit of Oscar Wilde. Lord Harry and his sense of homosexual influence, Basil because he is an individual and he does not want to let go of that and Dorian because of their vanity. All of these characteristics play a role in Victorian society as well. The people at that time were very image conscious and vain, like Dorian. They were also very traditional, not allowing any homosexual influence at all. And lastly, some members of society looked down upon individualism and self confidence, this attracted some people and repelled others. There have been many things in the book that can relate to Oscar Wilde and Victorian society and I think there will be many more to come.

Dustin B said...

During the Victorian age i would imagine most of the people to mirror Lord Harry and Dorian. Two men very proper, and wise with there comments. Enjoying opera and all beautiful things. Wealth was very important aspect for the two . Beauty was very important during that time as well. Basil enjoys all art and beauty so he fits in perfectly. With theses characters I Believe in a way Wilde is poking fun at the Victorian age. I guess more will play out as we get deeper and deeper into the book.

emilyl said...

Dorian, Henry and Basil seem to mirror the types of people who were most important to Wilde during the Victorian Era. Dorian is the beauty that Wilde values and likes to have for entertainment. Dorian does not have any real value except that he is beautiful and pure. Basil is the creator of fine things, but as a person, he does not have much of a character. Lord Henry even makes note that the greatest artists and poets are, as people, very dull, because all of their genius goes into their work, whereas horrible artists and poets are the most interesting people. Lord Henry represents the bored higher society, where the rich spend their time twisting other people around through comments and actions that can't be directly detected as what they really are. The society is a dangerous one to live in and everyone must behave in a certain way. It would be interesting to see how these characters would handle themselves if the society was less rigid and more about individual personality, instead of social class and actions.

afoyle said...

As has been discussed in class and through what I have read in the book, the man most like the Victorian era is none other than Lord Henry. Though Dorian is an obvious narcissist and the epitome of selfishness, Henry is the one who is acting upon his class, and that of Dorian. He is employing all of the stereotypes that come with the trade of the high-class Victorian era: He frowns upon marriage, especially when downgrading in class, upon love and "good" art and "good" poetry, and, most of all, promotes the idea of selfishness as he slowly coerces young master Dorian.

ryan f said...

Wow! Those comments above were amazing, so I don't have too much to say. But like Soo, I think that many of the characters in the Victorian Era were very elegant and reformed. In The Picture of Dorian Gray , the characters don't seem to exemplify the norm of that era too well. But that could possibly be one of my most favorite parts about this novel, the characters are beautiful in their simplicity and innocence, where in the Victorian Era, it seems as though many of the familiar people we have heard of were forced to become something that they were not.

samt said...

What I continued to observe in Oscar Wilde's background was his inability to conform to the norm that was accepted in the victorian age. Back then you could get imprisoned for homosexuality, pretty intense. Wilde just wanted to do what he wanted to do, which, in my opinion, was not how people functioned in the Victorian Age. Everyone wanted to please everyone and be known as a respectable person to the general audience, nobody exactly had freedom to be their own person. Wilde, on the other hand, was only interested in his own pleasure. His pride ruined his life. In the characters, we see Basil as Wilde's side of struggling with art, but finds beauty in his art through Dorian Gray, a man of "purity", and innocence, but their relationship quickly halts. In contrast to Wilde, he finds this beauty in his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, but later loses him. Then, Lord Harry, is portrayed as Wilde's attempt to conform to the norm, but struggled with only wanting his own satisfaction, which made him miserable. And finally, Dorian. Dorian, I would dare to say, envelopes the true deep defenition of Oscar Wilde. Dorian is young, naive, and is struggling to find his definition of who he truly is. I think Wilde, throughout his WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE, was in this struggle, and even to the end of his life never reached his own understanding of life. Dorian is an undefined man, just trying to make sense of things.

mattw said...

I pretty much agree with what sam said. Oscar Wilde wrote this story showing the negatives of victorian society. The way women were treated, the way lower class people were treated, and the way that people just treated one another in general is appalling. They had no respect for each others privacy and seemed intent on having a hand in everyones life for their own amusement. Especially how Wilde was imprisoned for homosexuality. It shows just how little respect for each other and each others lives that these people possessed. Just like how everyone is trying to change Dorian. Basil is trying to keep him the same and not let him experience life so that he can have his "artwork", if you want to call it that, preserved. Lord Henry just wants to see what he can get dorian to do by simply talking to him. It shows how the characters reflect the Victorian society and the personal struggle of Wilde to be his own person.

iains said...

The three characters we have met are Dorian Gray, Basil, and Lord Henry. These characters show clear similarities the Biblical story of the garden of Eden. In both stories, a source of innocence and purity (Dorian, Man) is created by a higher power representing all that is good (Basil, God). But after this purity is created, a dark force of temptation and evil (Lord Henry, Satan) corrupts the innocent and begins their downfall from innocence.

tuckerk2 said...

Dorian Gray, Lord Henry and Basil are the main characters that we have met this far and thus far are each relatively simple people, though they are very different from each other. Dorian is a beautiful young man who is na├»ve and lacks any true direction in his life. Lord Henry is very witty and self-centered. He pushes his opinions onto others and is sometimes very blunt about what he thinks. He decides he will use his intelligence in an experiment to see how much he can influence Dorian Gray. Basil is more reclusive and caring for other people. Though he doesn’t like Lord Henry much for his ability to cloud other’s minds, he still associates with him since they were old friends. He does little to upset other people and refuses to put the picture he drew of Dorian on display because he fears that it reveals too much about himself. He also tries to protect Dorian from Lord Henry’s influence.