Dorian Gray: Alive in the 21st Century

by Toni Star - Date: 2006-12-30 - Word Count: 903 Share This!

If Oscar Wilde's infamous character Dorian Gray, of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" were alive today, I wonder what kind of additional horrors would be added to his painting? For those not familiar with Dorian or for those whose memories of him have faded, here's a quick synopsis.

Dorian Gray was a nineteenth century character from the book, "The Picture of Dorian Gray." Dorian was physically beautiful and admired by both women and men. At a party one night Dorian was introduced to a famous artist. The artist was immediately fascinated with Dorian's youth and beauty and desired to do his portrait. As the artist got to know Dorian, he became more obsessed with painting him. Dorian became his sole inspiration. In time, though, the artist became fearful that he was putting too much of himself into the painting, too much of his own soul.

One day as Dorian posed for his portrait, he met and talked with one of the artist's friends, Lord Henry. That day the two talked of the importance of youth and beauty. Lord Henry influenced Dorian into thinking that "youth and beauty" was everything. Later in the day when Dorian finally viewed his portrait, he was both ecstatic and depressed. He was ecstatic that his beauty would be preserved in the portrait, depressed that one day he would become old and ugly. The very thought of growing old repulsed him. Out loud he said, "If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that, for that, I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!" In the twinkling of an eye, Dorian gave his soul to the Devil so he could remain young and beautiful.

Over the years, the painting remained silent and cold in his attic, steadily changing into an evil and ugly portrait, mirroring Dorian's unseen soul. Dorian's physical appearance remained unchanged, young and handsome. At the end of the story, Dorian stabbed his portrait, unable to stand the horror before him. By doing this, he was found with the knife stuck in his own heart, his physical features old and ugly while the portrait returned to its original youth and beauty, the bargain now completed.

Like a devious player using and experimenting with all sorts of interesting possibilities, seeking to enjoy and corrupt as he is corrupted, Dorian would have loved our modern times. "Everything old is new again," describes the cycle of morality repeated through the ages. Is the current cycle more vicious than the others? It would seem the answer is yes. The daily media coverage fills our days with news more disgusting and disturbing than the previous day. Are there more depraved acts in our society because of our instant communications or is hypocritical logic ruling the day? Who is the victim and who is the transgressor? Does society really want something done against the perpetrators of evil deeds or does it want to sit back and enjoy the human drama unfold like a daily soap opera? What is reality? What is fiction? Have the two become one, fused by virtual reality?

Dorian Gray considered himself a victim of his times, the nineteenth century. It was a time for Jack the Ripper and his likes that gave Dorian the excuse to explore all the back alleys of pleasure. I wonder what new pleasures will be invented for our enjoyment in our new 21st century. Experiments with cloning and increasing sexual deviancies are two examples of new pastimes for the 21st century.

Is there nothing in this world that can raise the conscious behavior of the Dorian Grays or are they doomed to a life of death and destruction and a permanent place at the bottom of the hierarchy of hell? Maybe, but actions speak louder than words. There is an old saying, "The end justifies the means." How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm going to do whatever it takes to get what I want." It is heartbreaking to see people go to such extremes when in most cases it is not necessary.

Have you ever looked at a person and immediately shrank back and said to yourself, "I don't like this person!" I have. I'm not sure why this happens but an alarm goes off in my mind signaling, "Danger, get away!" Several times in my life I heeded that warning. I believe it saved me from some unseen tragedy. Just because a person looks handsome or beautiful, doesn't make it so. Dorian remained young and beautiful all his life, through all his evil ways. Beauty does not always equate to righteousness. If you allow him, the Dorians of this world will lead you quite gleefully to hell. He knows the way. Be wise and cautious. His bag of tricks is not for the faint of heart.

The moral of this story shows how evil can destroy a life. Dorian was a vain but decent man until he met Lord Henry. Lord Henry planted the seeds of darkness in Dorian's brain. Then, Dorian chose the path of evil and committed his soul to eternal damnation. It took but a second. From that moment on, Dorian repainted his soul in bold, dark, evil strokes.

The brush is in your hand. The choices and colors of good and evil are up to you.

Copyright 2006 Toni Star

Related Tags: dorian gray, narcisstic, sociopath

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