Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chapter 15-16 Blog Question

A literary critic, Christopher Wassar, says this about the novel: "The idea that paradoxes and epigrams have the power to corrupt is prominent in Dorian Gray." What is the primary paradox presented in the novel? Which characters seem to illustrate or embody this paradox the most and why?

24 Comments:

Blogger Kurt W. said...

Wow, that is quite a question. I would say that the greatest paradox in Dorian Gray is the paradox of Dorian's love. While he loved Sybil and Basil for their art, he ended up destroying them both. Dorian loves the art but cares not for the artist, which is quite a paradox.

March 04, 2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Nick W said...

I think the greatest paradox in Dorian Gray is appearance vs. reality. Dorian is so caught up with the way he looks that he gives up his soul to stay the same. The paiting which shows the "real" visual of Dorian changes instead of the appearance of Dorian.

March 04, 2007 5:30 PM  
Blogger alexmu said...

I agree with Nick. I think the greatest paradox in Dorain Gray is appearance. Dorian puts his soul into the painting to benefit him and his looks. Doing this he did just the opposite, he is able to see his soul in the painting and how it is not too good. This haunts Dorian and he doesnt like to look at it.

March 04, 2007 5:51 PM  
Blogger DaveV said...

I kind of agree with both kurt and nick so far. Not a whole lot of others to read. But kurt makes a valid point in Dorian's love being a paradox, but i don't think that it is the greatest paradox in the novel. I think, as Nick said, that appearance vs. reality is the greatest paradox. I think it is more so because the general message in the novel is about appearance. The fact that Dorian can essentially do what he wants and never "feel the effects" of what he does to me is quite paradoxical.

March 04, 2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger levik said...

I think that Wilde shows a paradox between how people say they should live and how they actually live. I guess this goes along with the whole appearance vs. reality topic like Nick said. In Dorian's case, everyone says that he is an innocent soul and person early in the novel. Later on he becomes corrupt but still appears innocent. Some people are fooled by his youthful looks. Dorian is the perfect example of someone who uses his appearance to mask his true self.

What do you guys think of the paradox between beauty and genius that Wilde brings up. Lord Henry says that, "Beauty is a form of Genius-is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation." What is more important to have? Do you believe Lord Henry here?

March 04, 2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I agree with a lot of what everyone is saying, but the thing that has got me the most confused in the book is the way that Wilde uses the novel to present himself. Wile himself is an aesthetic, but in the novel he shows it in a negative light. To me that is the biggest paradox in the novel. Talking with Marie today, she suggested the book might be the way that society views Wilde, not how he himself views his life. This could be it but I am not sure what Wilde is trying to say.

March 04, 2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger alex ma said...

levi-

I think the emphasis on beauty and genius is an important paradox in the book. Personally, I think genius is more important. Beauty, as we have widely discussed, is really only a mask for what a true person is. Genius is something that cannot be fabricated with the same ease as beauty. Wilde seems to emphasize beauty in the book much more than genius which is what makes this an important paradox.

March 04, 2007 9:52 PM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

I totally agree with Nick, I think that the major paradox in Dorian Gray is appearance vs. Reality. I think that the words that Wilde capitalizes is then applied and this paradox. Words that he captilizes are like Death, Love, Nature, and I'm sure there are other ones but it kind of makes sense because all of these are talked about and shown through Henry and Dorian. In love, Henry sees it as a pleasure and something that is always the same, but in reality I think that love is different with every person and that people experience diverse relationships with different people.

March 04, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Marie P said...

I think that the greatest paradox in Picture of Dorian Gray is senses vs. reality. This can be classified under appearance but I think of it more under the lines of what a person is feeling against what is real. Dorian's portrait is feeling all the guilt and remorse for him for quite sometime until there is an actual danger in Dorian's life. That is the first time he feels his conscience. Before that he did whatever he pleased and watched as his portrait took all the falls for his actions.

March 04, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger TaylorW said...

I actually agree with Dave. Kurt's idea of the greatest paradox in the novel is a big one. His love of art is much greater than it is for the artist. That's shown with the murder of Basil. Like Dave said, I don't think that this is the greatest paradox. I agree with Nick's version of appearence vs. reality. Dorian's appearance shows a good looking guy but the picture shows a murderer.

March 04, 2007 11:04 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I like what Kurt said that Dorian loves the art, yet doesn't seem to love the artist. I think this can be tied into what Nick said too, though. Dorian loves what he sees, but hates what is beneath, as is represented in his character.

March 04, 2007 11:47 PM  
Blogger jessg said...

I think that everyone is right on with this one. This book revolves around what appears to be and what really is. Had Dorian not been so consciencious of what everyone might think or say about him if he began to age or if he didn't fit the ideal, then he wouldn't have gone down the path of evil and distruction that he did. It was the illusions that surround him throughout the book which drove him to become and illusion himself. Without this paradox, the book wouldn't have a story to tell.

March 05, 2007 6:22 AM  
Blogger Haley C said...

I'm not exactly sure what the prime paradox in the novel is. However i agree with what Marie said, about senses s. reality. I can understand where she is coming from because of the picture. I also agree with Kurt though. He did say that he loved both Sybil and Basil. When Sybil died it didn't take him very long to get over it and he ended up killing Basil and i don't think murder is a act of love.

March 05, 2007 7:00 AM  
Blogger chrisg said...

I agree with Marie that the prime paradox is a fantasy vs. reality. In the story we see many characters appear to be one thing, when they are actually something completely different. Also, I think this applies to the characters in this story wanting to believe something, when they know that it cannot be true. There are other parodoxes as well, such as art vs. life. For example, the picture of dorian vs. Dorian himself. I think that Dorian can be attributed to all of these paradoxes, because he is the character that is most torn throughout the story.

March 05, 2007 7:19 AM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

I agree with what most everyone is saying, Dorian loves what he sees, but hates himself what is truly underneath. The idea that Zach and Marie brough up also a resonable idea that there is more of Wilde, how society veiws him more so than how he views himself in this book.

March 05, 2007 7:20 AM  
Blogger KatieA said...

I believe that the paradox is ones true self. In this book everyone looks one way to society and everyone around them, but on the inside they are someone completely different. Not only do the people on the outside struggle with trying to understand who the characters truly are but the characters themselves dont even know who they are. The paradox is dorian, and who dorian is trying to be. He is trying to figure this out during the whole book.

March 05, 2007 7:36 AM  
Blogger KatieA said...

THE IS AMY BRYAN---I agree with kurt when he said that the greatest paradox is the way dorian loves. I think it is contradictory that he loves Basil and Sibyl for the way they express themselves and their art, but he doesnt love them as people.

March 05, 2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger zverges said...

I think that the main paradox in Dorian's life is imagination vs. reality. It is Dorian's imagination that gets him into trouble, not anything/anyone else. Other characters may suggest certain ideas to Dorian; however, it is Dorian who gets caught up in those ideas. For example, in the beginning Lord Henry suggests to Dorian that youth is the only important thing in life and that nothing else matters. Dorian imagines what everlasting youth would be like. His imagination affects him so greatly that he wishes for his painting to receive all of the negative affects of his aging. I would conclude that all of the characters in this book deal with this paradox. The main characters deal with this paradox for their obvious reasons, but other minor characters are said to imagine that Dorian is a well-mannered man. He is in no way a well-mannered man, he the epitome of corruption. Also, every character is deceived by the fake youth of Dorian’s imagination to a point where no one is living in reality.

March 05, 2007 7:51 AM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I defiantly agree with what Kurt is saying because that seems to me to be one of the most ironic things in the book. Dorian seems to love art, but at the same time he doesn’t appreciate the skill it takes to produce the good art. He is so unappreciative towards Basil that he kills him which seems really peculiar considering he loved the work Basil had done. I guess this might be what the critic was speaking of when he said paradoxes corrupt the characters in Dorian Gray.

March 05, 2007 8:08 AM  
Blogger melissa b said...

I agree with Kurt on How the main paradox in Dorian's life is love. He says he loved Sibyl and Basil, but i don't think he truly loved him. He physically kills Basil (which is weird, he loved his work) then he mentally kills Sibyl. Scott uses a great exampl on how he says he loves art, but he doesn't appreciate the skill it takes to produce good art.

March 05, 2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger StaceyK said...

I agree with the other that the big paradox in the novel is love and how Dorian loves everyone at first when he meets them but then he turns that around. Beacuse he kills two of the people he loved the most. The reason he killed them is they both portrayed art and he betrayed art by killing them both that is the reason it evolves into a paradox.

March 05, 2007 8:15 AM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

I definatley agree with nick, I think the biggest paradox in the novel is apperance vs. reality. Dorian will do anything to stay young and gives up his soul to look beautiful. The painting actually is his soul and it changes while dorian's body stays the same.

March 05, 2007 8:48 AM  
Blogger jeffg said...

I really think that the biggest paradox in this book is the difference between outward appearance and inward reality. I think that many characters embody this paradox. Lord Henry acts and appears to Dorian to be helpful yet he actually destroys him. Lord Henry also says that his relationship with his wife is bad when it is actually quite good. Dorian appears beautiful on the outside yet his picture and true actions embody the fact that he is a destructive demon. I think that Dorian appears to love Sibyl yet he actually loved only her acting. I think Basil is the only person exempt from this paradox. He is the only one that saw everyone for their true selves and tried to help them.

March 05, 2007 9:38 AM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I think that the biggest paradox in the book is Dorian's pursuit of beauty. He spends so much time (his entire life) looking for beautiful things to fill his emptiness, and in the end, he destroys EVERY beautiful thing he has ever come into contact with. (So basically, this is the same as what Kurt is saying). In the chapter before Dorian kills Basil, Basil goes into a long and detailed list about all of the rumors surrounding Dorian. I think the purpose of these deatiled, (almost boring because there are so many new names, etc)pages is to show how Dorian has spent his years looking for beautiful things and has destroyed everything he has come into contact with. I think his pursuit of beauty is the biggest paradox in the novel.

March 05, 2007 9:49 AM  

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