In The Picture of Dorian Gray, is the person that Dorian Gray is attracted to similiar to the people Oscar Wilde was attracted to?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let us be very careful here. Oscar Wilde was infamous for his homosexuality, which was a criminal offence during his life, and for which her served a term in jail after a trial that was very public. Although he was married, it is clear that he only really felt sexual attraction for other men, and was involved with a series of rent boys as well as, famously, the son of a nobleman, called Bosie. In his fiction, however, because of the contemporary laws, he was unable to make explicit reference to homosexuality, and so instead we are told that Dorian Gray has very strong "friendships" with other young men that are very intense but then suddenly fade away, leaving the young man in question hating Dorian Gray and trying to avoid him. The one meaningful relationship that Dorian Gray develops with Sibyl Vane is actually based on illusion and art, rather than reality, as is brutally shown when Sibyl herself exchanges her artistic talent for the reality of her relationship and love for Dorian. However, Oscar Wilde was certainly not bisexual and therefore would not have been sexually attracted to Sibyl Vane in the way that Dorian Gray was. Therefore, the answer to this question is that Dorain Gray and his creator shared similar sexual urges in terms of their homosexuality, but this was something that the laws of the day meant that Oscar Wilde was unable to make explicit in the pages of this novel.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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