Theaim of this essay is to provide an analisys of the gothic elements in the novel„Dorian Gray”. In order to achieve this,I will give a few short notes on this concept, for a better understanding of itand then I will proceed to find these elements in the novel.Firstthings firts, the term of gothic emerged for the first time in literature, inthe eighteen century, with the apparition of the novel „The Castle of Otranto- A ghoticstory”, and the genre proved to be a success.
However, by the time „The Pictureof Dorian Gray” appeared, the gothicnovel had already started to lose its popularity. Nevertheless, the book was areal succes and it is considered one of the best works that belong to thisgenre. Oscar Wilde used in his book, numerous gothic motifs such as: theexistence of a dark and old castle, house or room which is often abandoned, orhasn`t been inhabited for a long time, the presence of the supernatural, thedevil, threatened women, usually by men, magic objects and generally a strangeathmosphere that makes the characters feel uncomfortable.Themain elements that make Dorian Gray a gothic novel are the following: theexistence of a dark room; the one in which Dorian hides his portrait, afraidthe people would want to steal it. The room is described as being cold and noone seemed to have lived in it for a long period of time.Furthermore,the most obvious gothic element if from my perspective is the portrait and thecurse that has been cast on it. The portrait represents the magic object in thebook.
It is unknown how could Dorian stay young and beautiful while thepainting carries the burden of his sins. The day when Dorian bursts into furyand tries to destroy the painting with the knife he used for killing Basil, thespell is broken. He is found dead with the knife in his heart, his body is oldand looks horrible, while the painting went back to its original state andshows Dorian as being a young, handsome man.Othersignificant motifs are the presence of the evil, who is portrayed here by LordHenry Wotton who is a bad influence for Dorian. They first meet at Basil`shouse, and Dorian becomes intrigued with him.
He is a rich, extremelyinteligent, noble man, who seems to be living only for seeking pleasure andexperince life at its fullest. He has a tendency of excusing his and later,Dorian`s selfish behaviour, by saying the it is all done in the name ofpleasure and happiness. He is a charming person and Dorian seems to befascinated by this men`s way of thinking and living; he often says things thatshocks not only Dorian, but everyone whom interferes with him. However, hefails to understand the true nature of the human`s soul, and that can beclearly seen „People like you don`t commit crimes, Dorian” (Wilde, page 61)meaning that just because Dorian belongs to a higher social class, he in unableto commit such horrible act, which Lord Henry associated mainly with the lowerclasses. Overall, Lord Henry Wotton is the representative figure for the evilin the book, his influence on Dorian turns Dorian from an innocent young man,to a destructive human, who hurts the ones around him.
Sybil Vane, the talented, beautiful actresswho has an inocent heart. Dorian sees her for th first time, at a performanceof Romeo and Juliet. Her talent, innocence and purity amaze him, and he evenwishes to marry her. Sibyl and Dorian become soon engaged, but their relationshipwon`t last long. She falls in love with Dorian, who she calls prince charming,but this powerful love makes her lose the ability to act properly on stage.WhenDorian sees how bad she acts, he is confused and slowly loses interest in her,to her desperation. He ends the relationship in such in a harsh way, leavingSybil crying and begging for him to come back to her.
Desperate and heartbroken,she commits suicide. From here, we can draw the conclusion that Dorian was seen as an evil influence for her, because thelove she felt for him was rather like a poison, that made Sybil lose her mostimportant talent, her acting skill and also lose her life.Tosum up everything that I have just said, it is safe to say that The Picture ofDorian Gray is one of the most representative gothic novels that appeared. Thecursed painting, the evil presence, the existence of a dark room, the inexplicable death of Dorian, and the overall mysteriousatmosphere are the key elements of Oscar Wilde`s novel.