The Picture Of Dorian Gray – Chapter 20 Commentary

805 words - 4 pages

In chapter 20 of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Dorian reflects on his past crimes and wonders whether he will ever change and retrieve his innocence again. Throughout the final chapter of the novel, the elements of Gothic novel that Wilde explores conveys the idea of the pursuit of individualism. Dorian’s wild, racing emotions clearly show how much he is driven by his readiness to fulfill his desires under any circumstance. Through this, the use of specific words and punctuation markings highlight Dorian’s personal yearning of removing himself from his past.
First of all, Dorian has evidently changed in contrast to the beginning of the book. In this chapter, he aims for a different purpose, to start his life new and pure again. However, Dorian still strives merely for what he wants instead of thinking for others. He is open to any way that can make it possible to accomplish his own goals. Dorian’s good act of leaving Hetty was simply in response for the desire to return to his innocent state. It is written, “Perhaps if his life became pure, he would be able to expel every sign of evil passion from the face…he would be good and the hideous thing…would no longer be a terror to him” (211). The way Dorian introduces his act of kindness indicates that the only reason he kept Hetty from being corrupted was for his own benefit to see his soul new again. In all, his actions were far from being due to good intentions.
Furthermore, Dorian’s concerns remain solely on himself. He believes that “It was better not to think of the past. Nothing could alter that. It was of himself, and of the future he had to think” (210). Dorian’s feelings are highlighted along with his personal desires and worries. It mentions, “James Vane was hidden in a nameless grave…Alan Campbell had shot himself…but had not revealed the secret that he had been forced to know…Basil Hallward’s disappearance would soon pass away…He was perfectly safe there” (210). Dorian’s only concern is whether or not his reputation will be affected negatively. Any feelings of remorse and repentance for the murders are absent. Dorian treats these deaths as unavoidable. On page 211 it says, “As for Alan Campbell his suicide had been his own act. He had chosen to do it. It was...

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