This passage takes place in the middle of chapter II, in which Lord Henry has just been introduced for the first time to Dorian by his friend Basil. During this scene of first encounter Lord Henry made an impressive philosophic speech about one's self and soul, moral influence, virtues and sins, desires and temptation, but also about youth and beauty and the passing of time, that is another version of the Latin carpe diem and Greek Hedonism.. In the meantime Basil was painting Dorian's portrait and as Dorian was listening to Lord Henry's terrible words, falling into great trouble and fascination, Basil could paint all these emotions on the picture. The passage that follows and that we are going to study is a key moment : it is the turning point of the novel because it will have decisive consequences for the rest of the story. Actually Basil has just finished the portrait and he lets his friends look at his masterpiece and judge it.
[...] It therefore suggests that the picture will allow Dorian to do what he likes (even crimes) without it being visible on his face. Another rhetorical question is “What had happened?” by which the narrator implies “what had happened to Dorian?”, and suggests that Lord Henry is a bad influence on Dorian, but the reader can also ask himself what had happened between Dorian and his portrait. This sentence can be used to characterise the whole passage and to suggest the strange and fantastic event that had happen and which constitutes the turning point of the novel. [...]
[...] First part The relationships between the three characters 5 The influence of Lord Henry on Dorian First of all this passage is marked by the arrival of a new character in the relationship between Basil and Dorian. This fact is a motive of inequality and disequilibrium. Thus The relationship Dorian has with Lord Henry is not the same as the one he has with Basil. Lord Henry comes in between them in a way, the phrase “broke when he asserts his major role in the success of the painting is entirely due to shows this contrast, and can be understood as a symbol of his breaking the relationship between Dorian and Basil. [...]
[...] Dorian has an exceptional place in Basil's heart and art : in a way he is Basil's Muse, but to Basil Dorian's friendship is far more important than his beauty and the artistic value of his appearance. However Dorian's attitude towards Basil is not very clear. He never explicitly expresses his feelings towards Basil, although some sentences like am less to you than your ivory Hermes or your silver long will you like suggest that Basil's friendship is important to him. [...]
[...] This passage is metaphorical and shows the effect that has his moral suffering, but it also describes what will later physically happen to him : the instrument of murder and suicide is already used here as an image and an element of comparison to illustrate a moral suffering whereas it will cause a physical one at the end of the novel, when Dorian will stab the picture himself with the knife. Here dramatic irony becomes tragic irony since it introduces by advance and announces the fatal outcome of the novel. [...]
[...] To designate the picture, he uses the vague and indeterminate term of So the picture is both an artistic object that one may evaluate and appreciate “Don't you like it ? says Basil course he likes it, who wouldn't like it answers Lord Henry ; am glad you appreciate my work at last” says finally Basil and an object that one may possess he says : will give you anything for it. I must have Moreover the issue of whose property it is is even debated between him and Basil. [...]
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