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The Picture of Dorian Gray

by Oscar Wilde
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Analyze the relationship between body and soul in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

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Both The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray explore the complex relationship between the human soul and the human body. Consider how both works feature characters who have increasingly corrupt souls. As their souls darken, their bodies start to change.

For instance, in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll begins to lose control of Hyde, the physical version of his evil personality. When he starts trying to stop becoming Hyde, Hyde fights back, and the internal struggle leads to suicide. It is as if Dr. Jekyll’s physical form is struggling with the dark impulses of his soul. A more clear representation of this process happens in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian gives up his soul for the ability to maintain his physical beauty. However, he goes on to engage in a horrible way of life, and Basil’s portrait of him becomes increasingly ugly. When Dorian sees it, he loses control, and his life eventually ends in suicide too. The story thus also suggests that the soul and the body are interconnected, yet the soul is of higher importance.

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