Faust As A Protagonist Of Dorian Gray

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To fully understand the story of Dorian Gray, we must look at Faust (Christopher Marlowe, Goethe), the Protagonist of a popular German “deal with the devil” character. In what way does Wilde adhere to the Faust myth and in what ways does he make it his own.

One of the play’s major themes in the story of Faust is the fight between good and evil, as shown through Faustus’s own internal struggles and the good and bad angels in the play. Other key themes include the potential risks involved with a quest for knowledge and the nature of Faith versus Free will. Doctor Faustus also touches upon magic death and sin. “The Picture Of Dorian Gray” is one of the novel’s main themes, revolves around estheticism and Dorian Gray’s double life, in the West End he’s a celebrity reveling in wealth and life’s Pleasures, while the East End he associated with lowlifes. Since gray has essentially sacrificed his soul for eternal youth and beauty there’s a Faustian element to the tale which leads to tragic results. Other themes also explored include Good vs Evil mortality and the corruption of innocence.

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Wilde adheres to the Faust myth by telling about a person called Dorian Gray, who is popular, good-looking, a young man who sells his for eternal youth and beauty. As he gets, his portrait grows older, but he does not. Dorian sinks into a life of dissipation and crime. The legend tells of a learned Doctor Who sells his soul to the devil in return for knowledge in magical abilities. Although Dorian Gray never contracts with the devil his sacrifices are similar: he trades his soul for the luxury of Eternal youth. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme. As in Faust, a temptation is placed before the lead character Dorian, the potential for ageless beauty. Dorian Indulges in this temptation. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” (page 21) In both stories, the lead character entices a beautiful woman to love him and then destroys her life. “She crouched on the floor like a wounded thing, and Dorian Gray, with his beautiful eyes, looked down at her, and his chiseled lips curled in exquisite disdain. There is always something ridiculous about the emotion of people whom one has ceased to love.” (page 92). Dorian can hide his face. And he’s afraid of facing the mirror for the portrait and covers it so that nobody can see it, including himself. The absence of any sign that his soul was growing ugly and old is a curse for Dorian and it eventually leads him into degradation. According to his book, it says that “ Was it true that one could never change? He felt a wild longing for the unstained purity of his boyhood,— his rose-white boyhood, as Lord Henry had once called it. He knew that he had tarnished himself, filled his mind with corruption, and given horror to his fancy; that he had been an evil influence to others, and had experienced a terrible joy in being so; and that of the lives that had crossed his own it had been the fairest and the most full of promise that he had brought to shame.” (page 225). Dorian Gray as a novel refuses to let our separate out surface and symbols, death, and surface art life. Most are how it ties into the program of the aesthetic will be movement art for art’s sake note for Life’s sake. Now it doesn’t mean that art has no ethical content, what that means is that art needs to be judged by its own rules not sense or can only be good or bad art, it can’t be misleading or a poor or moral example it can be a subject material the focus of an artwork as it well was written. So here wide adhere to the Faust which tells that Dorian Gray has essentially sacrificed his soul for eternal youth and beauty there’s a Faustian element to the tale which leads to tragic results.

Oscar Wild change Faust to his own which lead An artistic movement that treasured beauty and aesthetic encounters in the quest for pleasure, regardless of its moral consequences. “ It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.” (page 24). Now the subject of The Picture of Dorian Gray is physical Beauty. which is to say the physical Beauty of a person, which is something that we in today’s day and age admiring a person’s physical beauty is no longer associated, with intellect and connoisseurship by contrast we are considered deep if we might credibly say we appreciate the beauty of the visual arts. Everybody can Ramar Ville at the beauty of a Setting Sun, but if you were to say in broad sweeping terms for the thing. Peoples appreciate that the way beautiful people look that’s unacceptable today. Oscar Wilde disagrees the subject matter of The Picture of Dorian Gray is the archaic study of beauty, what is its nature it is a thing that exists only as a subjective opinion about an existing object all propositions touching upon it are therefore simultaneously true and false, real and imagined, physical and Abstract. “Beauty is a form of Genius-is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation.” (page 24). “ People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, Beauty is the Wonder of Wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible”.(page 24) This mean that if the impact of beauty must happen, upon the mind then it stands to reason that the more powerful the mind, the greater the impact that beauty will have, and so that it follows that the shallower and Dumber the mind, the less of an impact it will have, and what he’s saying about the visible versus The Invisible is a very significant a deep thing to say, and he’s quite right it’s harder mentally, it is harder intellectually, to work with the real something about Oscar Wilde word choice. He says thought he doesn’t say something broader like study. This means quite literally, font simply propounding, into the back myself up on this later on much later on in the book this is Dorian Gray’s thought process “he felt keenly conscious of how barren all intellectual speculation is when separated from action and experiment. He knew that the senses, no less than the soul have their spiritual mysteries to reveal. intellectual speculation, that I think is the thought speculative abstract crap, so in other words the human appearance is a species within the genus, of the naturally visible world and people who have a propensity for intellect, will seek to engage the natural physical world thinking about it quantitatively, qualitatively take its measure to observe it and consider it out of a sort of scientific and intellectual curiosity. How could a person who thinks like that not be struck in off by the Nature’s capacity to create life with such geometric symmetrical and vibrant Precision, that it in which it creates a handful of people which brings us back to the question of what type of thought Oscar Wilde means when he’s talking about superficiality. He had said and in that original quote “That beauty is superficial but not nearly as superficial as thought is” I think the type of thought he really means he means abstract thought, but I think particularly she means morality, Oscar Wilde, hates social convention and he hates morality, and indeed, I think he almost wood would prefer to deny its existence than favor those, who think in moral terms, in fact, here defines morality this is for the text modern “morality consists in accepting the standard of one’s age”. that’s what he has Oscar Wilde to find morality and if that is the way that he defined morality. It follows logically therefore that he considers morality to be shifting morality is simply, what the majority of people think is correct in good, those are the shallow people, moral people and I think what Oscar Wilde would say is that moral people have a tendency to wear those morals and express those morals and since they give their morals such expression why could it not be called a superficial thing even though it doesn’t literally have a surface the way that beauty does tickets still place it under the umbrella of superficiality. So if the distinction between the intellectual and the shallow is that the intellectual considers objects at rest or in motion arrested by Beauty and Pete’s by the Natural Sciences while the shallow person will operate in a kind of abstract, sociality, despising of real things. Wilde is now changing Faust to beauty and make it to his own.


  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Preface-Chapter Two …-SparkNotes
  2. https://www.sparknotes.com > lit > Dorian gray > section1>page
  3. https://www.cram.com/essay/The-Picture-Of-Dorian-Gray/PK5RWULURE4X
  4. https://www.shmoop.com/picture-dorian-gray/chapter-20-full-text.html 


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