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In The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the unsuspecting Dorian Gray is lured by the detached, but highly influential Henry Wotton, who treats Dorian as nothing more than a real-life experiment. From the beginning, he watches, unaffected, as Dorian goes to extraordinary lengths to preserve his youth. There are many instances which reveal that Henry Wotton is instrumental in Dorian Gray's downfall and an understanding that he, himself, would never go to such lengths and would rather watch the effects on Dorian:
"To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable."
However, it is Henry's expression of what are essentially his own desires that create the recognition or the feelings of potential loss in Dorian and Henry finds fulfillment watching Dorian be what Henry, himself, cannot be. Henry overwhelms Dorian, who tries, "not to think," because:
"The few words that Basil's friend had said to him-... had touched some secret chord that had never been touched before, but that he felt was now vibrating and throbbing to curious pulses."
Henry knows how he can manipulate Dorian and, "having shot an arrow in the air," meaning that he has merely made a suggestion, which, for Dorian's impressionable mind is enough, he can take advantage of Dorian's weakness and level of trust. Henry makes a huge impression on Dorian, convincing him that, once his good looks are affected by age, he will become "bitter" and this will bring him "nearer to something dreadful." He persuades Dorian:
"The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself. I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time."
The influence that Henry has on Dorian becomes apparent very quickly. Even Basil cannot believe the change in his friend. He is shocked at Dorian's new outlook:
"Lord Henry Wotton is perfectly right. Youth is the only thing worth having. When I find that I am growing old, I shall kill myself."
Basil knows how manipulative "Harry" - Henry Wotton- is and knows his association with the young Dorian cannot be good, especially as Henry believes such things as, "Sin is the only real colour-element left in modern life." When Dorian goes to dinner with Henry, rather than stay and dine with his friend who entreats him to stay, Basil knows that Henry will exert his power over Dorian, even without Dorian being aware of it,which is why "the painter flung himself down on a sofa, and a look of pain came into his face."
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