Monday, February 25, 2008

Chapter 5-8 Fishbowl

Hey sorry guys I just got the e-mail from Ms. Smith to be invited. But! Have no fear, here is your question!

After reading up through chapter 8, what is your opinion on Lord Henry? Is he good or evil? What other characters in literature can you connect him to? Or to Oscar Wilde himself?

20 comments:

JoeR said...

Hey everyone,

I feel that Lord Henry is one of the many personalities that Oscar Wilde has included in the novel to represent society. In my mind he represents the side of conforming, persuasion and corruption that many people have. Lord Henry has the ability to make a comment that everyone will notice and hold on too. These comments can make people change their way of thinking and conform to do something that may not be apart of their morals, much like the effect he is having on Dorian. Also, Lord Henry represents Wilde in the sense that he wants to always be the center of attention and the center of conversation and is willing to say whatever to be noticed. Wilde is notorious to acting this way at parties and in my mind that is how Lord Henry represents Wilde.

I was expecting to see a few more blogs....

brooksk said...

I feel like Lord Henry is the antagonist of this book and is the one who is leading Dorian Gray on and is manipulating with his mind. I do not think that Oscar Wilde is trying to portray himself through Lord Henry, but I do think that Oscar Wilde is trying to portray society through Lord Henry, and that is a negative connotation. It seems as if Wilde saw society as very tempting, and it seems as if the Victorian Era created men with egotistical mindsets and a set of values that defaced women and put wealth at the top importance. We also need to remember the number of references that Wilde makes towards Shakespeare, and there are many points in this book that coincide with Hamlet...do you guys think that Wilde shares the same values and beliefs as Shakespeare? (especially about women in society!)

ryanb said...

I believe that Lord Henry is a fairly bad manipulative guy. He uses his intelligence to corrupt and twist others. It also seems that he believes himself to be good to some extent. Lord Henry thinks he is doing others favors when he manipulates them because he believes himself superior in intellect. Dorian is caught up between choices that define whether he will be good or bad, and Lord Henry appears to be the little devil sitting on his left shoulder urging him on.

DanielC said...

I believe that Lord Henry is a calm manipulative guy. He seems to carry a calm and soft voice. He also seems to have that rebel mentality, he always seems to challenge the truth for some reason. And by doing this he thinks that he is doing something good for the other people. The other characters can get manipulated though his ideas. Dorian seems to have trouble deciding between good and evil and Lord Henry doesn't.

Emily H. said...

I feel that Henry is evil. I think he has bad intentions and will end up being a very negative influence on Dorian. I can already see that his behavior is affecting him badly. It will be interesting to see what happens and what he causes.

emilyl said...

Lord Henry is evil. He is like a puppeteer and enjoys watching the negative affects he produces on other people. He has completely corrupted Dorian, and so he has also destroyed something very important to Basil, because Dorian was his inspiration. Lord Henry states that "to influence a person is to give him one's own soul" (pg.20/beginning of chpt. 2). Lord Henry is evil because going with this statement, Dorian is becoming cruel and callous towards everyone else's feelings, which is what Lord Henry is like, especially to Basil. He makes me think of Polonius, who loves to try to influence others, but he is not as successful as Lord Henry. I think Wilde regarded "studying humans" the same way Henry does towards Dorian, but the character takes it to a new extreme. He likes to see himself reflected in others, because I think Henry has a need to feel important and influential, like Polonius.

rebeccar said...

I completely agree with Emily Logan in that Lord Henry is completely evil and manipulative. He just uses Dorian to see just how much of an influence he has on someone. Not only is Dorian pretty much a “blank slate”, but he is also the total essence of beauty and physical perfection. Therefore, the more of an influence Lord Henry is able to make on Dorian, the more flattering it will be for him. Clearly, he is a selfish and bored man.

Soo.K said...

I agree with Emily and Rebecca about how Lord Henry is evil. He is manipulative and uses Dorian Gray for his own amusement. Lord Henry controls Dorian's life and how he views it. Dorian Gray was innocent before Lord Henry had changed everything about him. It has gotten to the point where Dorian cannot do anything before consulting Lord Henry. He has also caused Dorian to almost completely ignore Basil. Basically, Lord Henry is forming Dorian's mind into one of his own. But yet, did Lord Henry open Dorian's eyes to the real world? Dorian was so innocent and pure before, oblivious to the cruel reality. He lived in his own perfect world. Although Lord Henry is evil, maybe he did a good thing by getting Dorian out of his utopian state and opening his eyes of the cruel society that he was living in. Maybe Dorian needed a wake up call and Lord Henry was the one that caused it.

courtneyw said...

I think lord henry is a true evil person. He might not know it but I think he is. I think that he is like alot of characters in this story because he kind of pushes to do things he wishes he never did. I think he doesn't know he does this but he does. I think he is really trying to influence Dorian. I also agree with rebecca, emily, and soo. He is using dorain for his amusement. He is not only using him for amusement but turning him into what he wanted to be.

MilendaN. said...

My opinion of Lord Henry is he is a bad influence especially towards Dorian. I think that Lord Henry is a bad guy because he is influencing Dorian on being on the bad side than on the good side by manipulating him with things that he shoudn't. It seems like he is making the decisions for Dorian instead of Dorian making his own decisions for himself. I agree with brooks, I don't think that Oscar Wilde is trying to portray himself through Lord Henry because why would he portray himself as a bad manipulative guy..?He may portray himself through Dorian but not Lord Henry I dont think.

mattw said...

I don't see lord henry as good or evil. While the things he says can be taken as evil he has no intent in what he says. He's merely sharing his personal view on things. Whenever Dorian listens to him and does something to follow what lord henry says, it is not lord henrys fault. He's already said he doesn't care for other people and that everyone should live selfishly. He doesn't care about anyone else. If that makes him evil than yes he is evil, but i think he is simply a man who shares what he thinks and is being listened to. If no one listened to him, then he'd just be any other person with too much to say. And as for who he reminds me of...I don't really think anyone. He's manipulative and hasn't really shown any really positive traits. All the people we have studied were basically good with a fatal flaw. Lord henry is just basically bad with no real good things.

michaelm said...

I don’t think Lord Henry is clearly good or evil, I just think it depends on how you interpret his character thus far. He does seem evil because of his ways of seducing people into following what he believes, but maybe that is a good trait or will be later used for good. Maybe he is someone who likes to play the devil’s advocate and show people he is smarter than they are. His using of Dorian is wrong but it could be for the better, for Dorian, because he is so innocent and needs to experience these vices Henry has put him through. I guess I see some of Oscar Wilde in Lord Henry because Wilde wanted to live on lust or for his own pleasure as Lord Henry clearly lives for. Like we discussed in class, there is a resemblance to Claudius, from Hamlet because of the selfishness and lust.

iains said...

I don't believe that Lord Henry is evil, but he does represent a force of temptation towards Dorian. I believe that Oscar Wilde created this character to relate to Victorian society, and how it can change a pure, creative mind.

abok said...

I think that if we were to take the victorian point of view then Lord Henry is a good guy. He guides Dorian, even if it is for his own amusment, in the apporiate direction for men of his position. If you take in the other factors that Lord Henry does then he is living by his own standers. He wants pleasure to be what men go after and he is doing just that, following his passion. He is not a bad guy he just knows what and how he is going to do something.

ryan f said...

After reading chapter 8, I seem to agree with pretty much everyone that has commented this blog so far. Lord Henry has the power to influence people, like everyone has said, and his influence on people is manipulative and dominating. Everyone in the novel seems to really notice and remember what Henry has commented about, and in turn, Henry's impact affects people in a peculiar way. I feel like, as some have argued, that every character in this novel is a different aspect of Oscar Wilde. From the background packet on his life, it seems like a little bit of himself is in every character. It will be really interesting to see how each character develops even more...

afoyle said...

I do think that Lord Henry is, maybe not evil but, definitely ambitious and is using Dorian Gray to further his own measures. And speaking of connections, though not to literature, I was wondering if this scenario seemed familiar to anyone. No? How about Star Wars: Episode III? It's essentially the same thing. Basil, who sees the purity in Dorian and is trying to help him, is the "Obi-Wan" of the story; Lord Henry is "Palpatine", who seduces and coerces to get things how he plans them to be; and it all comes down to Dorian who, like Anakin, is being mislead, for promises of power and love, towards the "dark side". His looks are altered as he walks this path and he is even the cause of his love's death.
All in all, Dorian Grey is Star Wars. Just without X-Wings.

Jackie.d said...

I'm going to agree with the majority on this blog and say that yes, Lord Henry is evil. As we talked about in the first fishbowl, he is constantly contradicting himself, becoming the devil's advocate of the situation. This is a manipulative characteristic of Henry's, and he uses it to change Dorian in the first part of the novel. For example, Henry emphasizes that Dorian should enjoy his youth and his beauty, because he will never feel like this again. He claims if only Dorian could stay young forever and keep his beauty, then he would be brilliant. However; later Henry insists that "no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested", so if Dorian were not to grow, then his life would be spoiled, when young beauty is of the utmost importance to Henry. Lord Henry is evil because he always lies, and he decieves people in order to manipulate situations.

tuckerk2 said...

Though Lord Henry may not be a good man, I disagree with what the majority of the class has said as I do not consider him to be evil. He may be self-centered and very influential in the thoughts of others but I don't think that he lies and the reason why Dorian is so influenced by him is because he is so naive and has never met a man like Harry before. If he hadn't influenced Dorian, someone else surely would later on. Furthermore, Lord Henry is not evil because he has no evil ambitions for his actions; he is merely conducting a social experiment in which he can find the extent one individual can influence another. If anyone in the novel could be considered evil, it would be Dorian as he lacks the conscience to know where the line is and when to stop as his actions are becoming increasingly immoral and will surly increase as the story progresses.

Samantha E said...

I feel that Lord Henry is the bad guy in the story. He is very manipulative and he is taking advantage of Basil and Dorian. He has no care for Dorian’s feelings and encourages him to be non sympathetic towards Sibyl’s death. He is becoming a bad influence for the impressionable Dorian Gray. Basil on the other hand has learned not to pay to much attention to him. It seems that Basil is indifferent to what Lord Henry has to say. This is a good thing because maybe he will be the one to pull Dorian out of the slump Lord Henry had put him in.

Kyle B. said...

I think that Lord Henry is, as several of us have said, just one of the many sides of Oscar Wilde's personality that are shown through this book. He isn't the bad guy, but he does wish to stir up trouble and dissention and argument wherever he might go. He meddled with Dorian's mind at the beginning of the book and he continues to view Dorian as his own personal experiment and therefore his property and creation. Henry is Wilde's interpretation about how we should all look at life, not with closed minds and quarantined hearts but with curiosity-driven intellectual minds and well-guided hearts. Henry isn't evil, but I do think that he doesn't necessarily have the best intentions in mind