Posted by: toobae21 | December 16, 2020

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The portrait in The Picture of Dorian Gray is representative of the gradual destruction of the human soul. It is a cautionary tale of sorts, as Oscar Wilde explores the hazards of pursuing pleasures. Dorian’s relationship with the portrait is complicated; there was a time when he admired the true beauty, but then this admiration morphed into resentment and fear. “A cry of pain and indignation broke him. He could see no change, unless that in the eyes there was a look of cunning, and in the mouth the curved wrinkle of the hypocrite. The thing was loathsome, more loathsome, if possible, than before” (Wilde 245). From being awe-striking, the portrait evolved into a nightmarish version of Dorian’s life –a reflection of his sins, loss of youthfulness and innocence, and ultimately a projection of the corruption of his soul.

This is a side-by-side representation of Dorian’s destruction. There are many film adaptions of the novel, but I have incorporated the 1945 colorized version of the portrait above. I know this portrait is just the director’s interpretation, but it captures our attention and manages to get the message across effectively.

While researching my final paper, I came across something called “Dorian Gray Syndrome,” or DGS. ScienceDaily states that DGS is “a cultural and societal phenomenon characterized by an excessive preoccupation with the individual’s own appearance (dysmorphophobia) accompanied by difficulties coping with the aging process and with the requirements of maturation” (“Dorian Gray Syndrome”). I was initially aware of dysmorphophobia, but I did not know that this particular syndrome existed and was named after the protagonist. This syndrome is not unusual, especially in the digital age. Social media and various other media platforms have exacerbated the problems with dysmorphia and the aging process. We are expected to always present our best selves to the world for fear of being judged and excluded. The pressure to appear perfect, whether in physical appearance, actions, or words, has created a toxic environment. We are less tolerant, accepting of differences, patient, and kind. It just makes me wonder how many individuals with DGS we have in the world today?


“Dorian Gray Syndrome.” ScienceDaily,


  1. This is so interesting! The right portrait is truly so grotesque — I would likely also lose my self-perception if my portrait appeared like that. Thanks for sharing!

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