How is Lord Henry's influence over Dorian shown through the first four chapters of The Picture of Dorian Gray?

aszerdi | Student

Lord Henry is introduced to Dorian Gray in the second chapter.

In chapter two Lord Henry Teases Dorian with his presence. Basil asks him to leave, so he can continue with the portrait. However, Lord Henry asks Dorian if he should stay and then commences to leave even after Dorian has begged for him to remain.

"Come and see me some afternoon in Curzon Street. I am nearly always at home at five o'clock. Write to me when you are coming. I should be sorry to miss you.'

'Basil,' cried Dorian Gray, 'if Lord Henry Wotton goes I shall go too. You never open your lips while you are painting, and it is horribly dull standing on a platform and trying to look pleasant. Ask him to stay. I insist upon it.'

In these first exchanges Lord Henry has already ruined Dorian in the sense that he now desires a life that is not "horribly dull." Henry instills a lust for pleasure within Dorian who already vows to follow where Lord Henry leads.

Lord Henry continues to make Dorian aware of his passions:

"You, Mr. Gray, you yourself with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have filled you wil terror, day dreams and sleeping dreams whose mee memory might stain your cheek with shame-

'Stop!' faltered Dorian Gray,'stop! You bewilder me. I don't know what to say. There is some answet to you, but I cannot find it."

In chapter three the power and influence that Lord Henry has over Dorian Gray is likened unto a spell:

"He(Henry) was brilliant, fantastic, irresponsible. He charmed his listeners out of themselves, adn they followed his pipe laughing. Dorian Gray never took his gaze off him, but sat like one under a spell, smiles chasing each other over his lips, and wonder growing grave in his darkening eyes"

The symbol of the "darkening eyes" signifies the spiritual and moral corruption Lord Henry is inspiring Dorian Gray to follow. This corruption is most apparent when Dorian speaks with Henry concerning Sibyl Vane. Henry States " it is only the sacred things that are worth touching, Dorian." Henry corrupts Dorian's notion of love. Dorian desires to marry Sibyl Vane and "there was no small doubt that curiosity had much to do with it, curiosity and the desire for new experiences; yet it was not a simple but rather a very complex passion." Sibyl Vane is perhaps a representation of the last portion of good within Dorian Gray. However, his emotions are shallow which eventually leads to the end of that relationship and the entirety of his transition into moral debauchery.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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