Classics: “The Picture of Dorian Gray”

Immagine“What of Art?
-It is a malady.
–Love?
-An Illusion.
–Religion?
-The fashionable substitute for Belief.
–You are a sceptic.
-Never! Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.
–What are you?
-To define is to limit.” 
[1]

 

 

 

Friday, June 20 1890, Oscar Wilde prints the first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray: the extraordinary story of the young Dorian who lives in the Victorian London and who loves beauty above anything else. The novel is still considered today the manifesto of the aestheticism and the poetics of art for art’s sake, for which artistic expression is free and independent of the principles of morality.

 

“The world has changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.”[2]

 

tumblr_inline_oaa8079aum1riixvp_5001890, yet there could not be more contemporary romance! Isn’t the age  we live in based on the image? Is not the appearance to count (almost) more than the substance?

Dorian decides to remain young forever, beautiful forever. He is willing to pay a very high price for this, and I am sure that we are all ready to judge him, to point him out as superficial, diabolic, to rise up on the pulpit and declare ourselves better than him.
But if we were given the opportunity to get away from all sin, infraction, slander? If a painting could pay for our sins? Would we still be so moralistic? Would we still be anchored to our judgment?

 
tumblr_lyikegzbzi1r92ex0o1_500That’s why everyone should read this amazing classic, let’s leave aside the historical and artistic importance, it’s to answer these questions.

Initially Dorian is flattered by this promise of eternity, but soon he develops a pathological relationship with the painting of Basil: on one hand he loathes it and he is disgusted, but on the other he is unconsciously attracted, so much that he is not able to stay too far from it.
The story of the protagonist, we know, does not end well, despite this we continue to search if not an eternal life, at least the eternal youth: the possibility of living more and better. And we do it with different and appropriate tools such as medicine and scientific research instead of spells, potions and spells, but also with less noble tools such as videos, photos, driven by the need for popularity, the five minutes of fame does- not- matter- the -reason.

I am obviously generalizing, everyone in conscience can recognise themselves or not in this description; however I am convinced that Dorian Gray resembles us much more than we are willing to admit, and that is why they continue to make from this book more or less faithful film transpositions – A curiosity: although in the book he is accurately described as “a boy with curls gilded “, in many transpositions the directors have chosen to represent him dark because the blond was considered too angelic. But was not this the purpose of Wilde ??? To try that appearance is deceiving? !! – and that the novel remains current despite the intervening two centuries.

 

is-that-really-how-i-look-dorian-gray-33232404-500-235

 

“But we never get back our youth… The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to.” [3]

 


[1] From the book.
[2] From the book.
[3] From the book.

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