Monday, February 2, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray : Chapter 7

I. Quotations
1. "I loved you because you were marvelous, because you had genius and intellect, because you realized the dreams of great poets and gave shape and substance to the shadows of art. You have thrown it all away. You are shallow and stupid." - Dorian Gray (page 91)
  • Maddened by Sibyl's failure of performance that night, Dorian Gray bitterly revealed the reason why he loved Sibyl - or, why cannot we make it clear - the impulse of his infatuation. Lord Henry said that "no woman is a genius. Women are decorative sex" (51). Dorian was madly in love with Sibyl because he saw the genius of acting under her rose-brewed pearl-white skin. He thought this girl is different - the harmony of intellect and beauty seemed to be on her. Dorian is completely in love with the charm of himself, so the beauty of Sibyl is nothing to him. When Sibyl's halo of art faded away, she was only "a third-rate actress with a pretty face" (91) to Dorian. "Without your art you are nothing" (91), said Dorian Gray. Dorian is an artwork to Lord Henry; and himself is seeking for his own collection of art too. He is grown to be a perfectionist under the curse of Lord Henry's influences. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. When one is not satisfied by his surroundings, he may search for something more exquisite, no matter it is evil or not.
2. “It held the secret of his life, and told his story. It had taught him to love his own beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul? Would he ever look at it again?" (page 95)
  • There are many symbolic meanings behind the portrait of Dorian Gray. First of all, the portrait is a mirror which made Dorian realized his beauty. Before the painting was done, Dorian was unaware of his glamor, thus there was no vainglory in his pure heart. However, when he was anointed by Lord Henry's philosophy of "the search of beauty being the real secret of life" (52), he began to treasure his youth and charm. This turned him into a pretentious and ruthless dandy. So we can also see the portrait as the origin of sins too. However, as the book indicates, "the picture, changed or unchanged, would be to him the visible emblem of conscience. He would resist temptation" (96). People are always blind to their sins. Having a portrait showing Dorian his evilness and temptation, he can actually be aware of his own flaws. This "soul keeper" gives him a chance of washing away his sins and stop doing wrong things.
II. Vocabulary
1. fiasco - [n.] a sudden and violent collapse
Ex. "Half of the audience went out, tramping in heavy boots, and laughing. The whole thing was a fiasco." (89)

loiter - [v.]
1> to linger aimlessly or as if aimless in or about a place
2> to move in a slow, idle manner, making purposeless stops in the course of a trip, journey, etc.
3> to waste time or dawdle over work
Ex. "For a few moments he loitered upon the doorstep, looking round and its staring blinds." (93)