Lord Henry and Basil essentially represent both sides of Dorian Gray. They are foils and mirrors of one another; that is, they are similar, but in other ways they are different forces that pull Dorian in different directions. Most importantly, they are both pivotal agents that move the plot forward.
Basil, a humble painter and friend of the "fashionable set," describes himself much as any artist of the time might:
You know we poor artists have to show ourselves in society from time to time, just to remind the public that we are not savages.
This snippet is significant because it shows us that Basil is a product of his class system, one which completely separates people based on their social standing, money, possessions, and family name.
As such, Basil is aware that he belongs to a lower "rank" in society, and, by default, he is prone to hold his "betters"—that is, those with money and titles—at a higher esteem than he should.
We see that he has no problem understanding that there is a...
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