Humanity: The devil's playground

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Humanity: The Devil’s Playground
Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a mythological tale of a young boy’s coming to age in Victorian high society. Dorian is unveiled innocent and shaded from the world. He is born with genetic gifts that some people can only dream of such as beauty and charm. The death of Dorian’s grandfather left him alone and vulnerable with a few years to spare before Dorian inherits his “gentleman” status. Unluckily for Dorian, this is a perfect opportunity for the devil to play. The first character introduced was not Dorian Gray but Lord Henry Wotton who corrupts Dorian into a hedonistic lifestyle which ultimately leads to his demise. Legend depicts the devil wearing many faces and this proves true as he wore the face of Lord Henry Wotton while influencing Dorian throughout his Faustian Bargain. A Faustian bargain derived from the German legend of Dr. Faust who made a deal with the devil in exchange for knowledge. The story became so popular and rewritten over time that Dr. Faust’s tale became known as a Faustian Bargain. There are many similarities between the old legend and the story of Dorian Gray. Both characters are willing to exchange their soul for something beyond their mortal limits. For Dr. Faust it was knowledge but for Dorian it was youth. Also in both stories, an innocent girl’s life is destroyed by the corruption of the two characters under the influence of the devil. During their decent towards evil, both Dr. Faustian and Dorian fall further under the influence of the devil committing all of the seven deadly sins until their ultimate demise. Dr. Faust was not the first tale of dealing with the devil just one of the more popular stories. The devil wears many faces and may appear in any shape or form in which he chooses making it impossible to determine who he will influence next (Kulik,195-220). Lord Henry’s interest in Dorian spawned from Basil’s obsession with the boy. Lord Henry could not influence Basil with his poisonous words but saw a chance to strike a deal when Basil confesses that he has given his soul to someone who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat. At first Basil doe not even want to reveal his portrait because he put too much of himself in it and he does not want to bare his soul to prying eyes. Wilde then describes Lord Henry’s fascinations in life as “One’s own soul, and the passion’s of one’s own friends. Since Basil gave his soul to Dorian, Lord Henry would need to have Dorian’s soul to have Basil’s. (Wilde, 13-15) Many details about Lord Henry’s introduction to Dorian gives clues that the devil is behind the mask. The devil prays on the weak and vulnerable. Dorian is at first afraid of Lord Henry but somehow enchanted by his words. Lord Henry constantly refers back to sin as being a way to induce pleasure and pleasing the senses is the only way to sure the soul. After lord Henry’s words first poisoned the boy Wilde described Dorian new perspective as “Life suddenly became fiery-colored to him. It seemed to him that he had been walking in fire.”(19-23). After Lord Henry had his hooks in Dorian he explained to the boy that beauty was everything and that Dorian had been given a gift of good-looks that had an expiration date. Dorian had never realized that looks were so important but Basil’s portrait validated Lord Henry’s words. Lord Henry is always at the right place at the right time to influence Dorian into deeper damnation. Dr. Faustian damned himself eternally by committing each of the seven deadly sins during the time of his bargain with the devil. His first sin was pride which leads him to the bargain because he was unsatisfied with being mortal and felt he deserved more (McAlidon, 218). Dorian also follows the same path throughout his own pact. Dorian struck a deal for eternal youth but only because Lord Henry played on the sin of pride. Dorian believed the evil words Lord Henry said about the power youth and beauty can give a person....