From the list below, what is the best expression of Lord Henry's attitude on influence in The Picture of Dorian Gray?a. We ought to be careful and influence people for good b. There is no such...

From the list below, what is the best expression of Lord Henry's attitude on influence in The Picture of Dorian Gray?

a. We ought to be careful and influence people for good

b. There is no such thing as influence because we all do what we wish

c. All influence is bad because it is not natural to the person being influenced

d. All influence is beneficial because it keeps us from doing bad things

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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(b) is the correct answer.

Lord Henry tells Dorian Gray,

"There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray.  All influence is immoral--immoral from the scienfific point of view."

"Why?"

"Because to influence a person is to give him one's soul. he does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions.  His virtues are not new to him.  His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed.

Lord Henry Wotten is amoral and cynical in his attitudes and expresses no sympathy after the death of Sibyl Vane or the disappearance of Basil. He sometimes expresses a desire to be young again when one can get rid of temptations by yielding to them; however, he also disguises his real intention with a witticism:

"To get back my youth, I would do anything in the world except take exercise, get up early, and be respectable." 

The reader wonders how much of what Lord Henry says is his or if he is merely a mouthpiece for his author, Oscar Wilde, who himself was filled with witticisms and cynical observations.

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