Oscar seeing him” (A. J. MacDonald, Jr, 2010).

          Oscar Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is the story
of a complex sign – a picture (or portrait) of Dorian Gray – that is embedded
within a complex system of signs (i.e., language) which is the text of the
novel itself. “The novel’s characters and objects, such as Sibyl Vane and the
portrait of Dorian Gray, signify and represent  far more than what might at first appear. In
the novel, the character of Basil creates the portrait of Dorian and in so
doing Basil has created a life-like artistic representation of Dorian that
allows anyone who sees this representation to see Dorian without actually
seeing him” (A. J. MacDonald, Jr, 2010).  The Picture of Dorian Gray begins with Basil describing the
fascination he has for Dorian, and ends with his masterpiece going back to its
original splendour. “Basil Hallward is presented as being at least involved in
the pact that Dorian purportedly makes out of vanity. The name of the artist
already links him to the death bringing fabulous being ‘Basilisk’, whose looks
kill the object he sets eyes upon” (Schulz, 79). That means Basil creates a
beautiful portrait of Dorian but it is beautiful in part because he lets his
adoration of Dorian slip into the painting – and it doesn’t remain beautiful
and pure, only Dorian does. When narcissistic Dorian finds out Basil’s secret, he
will be killed by what he produced.

         “Dorian Gray possesses great physical beauty,
and the artist Basil Hallward is infatuated with him” (Milne, 149). When Dorian
meets Lord Henry Wotton, he falls under the influence of Henry’s new hedonism,
in which the goal of immediate sensual pleasure is valued above ethics or
morality. His name is important but also ambiguous: “it is the name Gray that
seems to denote ambiguity, blending black and white” (Schulz, 82), suggesting
that he is morally neither black nor white and it also induces the colour
“grey” which is a symbol of impurity. However, his first name might have
multiple possible meanings. “The Dorians were a Hellenic people, and Doris was a sea nymph in Greek mythology, which would
align with Dorian’s beautiful mother, Lady Margaret Devereux, and his own
essentially supernatural beauty. In French, d’or would mean “of gold,”
or “golden,” which would also describe Dorian’s great beauty” (Course

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          Another allusions referring to mythology and literature are also used, as
in chapter one, where Dorian is compared to Adonis and Narcissus, symbols of
beauty and self-love. As in the myth, except that with some changes, in the
work, Basil Hallward paints a picture of Dorian Gray in which all the beauty of
this young man is reflected. Dorian Gray, however, had not realized his own
beauty until he was seen in the painting. As with Narcissus, he does not
realize his own beauty until he is reflected in the water of the pond. For
both, Narcissus and Dorian Gray, the mirror (picture-pond) is the one who
reveals their own beauty.                                               

          In the case of Dorian Gray,
at first he feels in love with the young actress Sibyl Vane, but after seeing
her again on stage and already engaged, she is already so in love with him that
she is not interested in theater and cannot stop thinking about him for a
moment, so much that makes a terrible performance. It is in those moments when
Dorian Gray is embarrassed and decides to reject her, she begs him not to
abandon her but eventually she commits suicide. In the case of the myth, the
nymph Eco is in love with the beautiful Narcissus but he does not pay any
attention to any young woman and she keeps languishing and losing her voice,
that is, she also ends up dead, if not physically, at least spiritually like
Sibyl Vane. “The name Sibyl is taken from the word Greek word: sibyl,
meaning: prophetess, and the ancient oracle of Sibyl at Delphi
was said to reveal prophetic truths about those who would seek her prophetic
insight. The oracle’s motto ‘know thyself’ is said to have been inscribed over
the entranceway to the temple
of Apollo in which she
sat to give her prophecies. Thus the Sibyl of our story represents the mystic
oracle that enables Dorian, as he puts it, ‘to know myself better’. I also
believe it’s safe for us to assume that Wilde’s choice of Sibyl’s last name,
Vane, is a homonym alluding to Dorian’s narcissistic vanity.” (A. J. MacDonald,
Jr, 2010).

Eventually, “it is Henry Wotton,
whose last name sounds suspiciously similar  to ‘rotten’ alluding to decadence and his
first name to its mastery, who continuously defies any labeling by playing with
possibilities. His refusal of labels (he refuses the label Prince Paradox for
its limiting quality) is a refusal of any universal truth. In his aspiration to
become like Wotton, Dorian fails to see the genuine playfulness and the
intentional in-significance of Henry’s witticisms and instead reads them
seriously” (Schulz, 82-83).