Oscar Wilde’s Multiple Appeals Revealed in the Male Characters in The Picture of Dorian Gray

  •  Ye-Ping Lian    
  •  Jing-Dong Zhong    


Concerning Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, the previous studies have mainly been conducted on the writer’s aesthetic thoughts and moral senses reflected in this novel, while the relationship between his literary creation and his psychological appeals needs to be further explored, for possibly these appeals are essentially related to his multiple personalities and complex psychology. Focusing on the three male characters, this paper attempts to examine Wilde’s psychological appeals for the recognition of his aestheticism and the acceptance of his non-aesthetic appeals, and how they are revealed in the novel. According to A. H. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, human needs include the physiological need, the safety need, the belongingness and love need, the esteem need, and the need for self-actualization and so on. Through close text analysis, this study has had the following findings: (1) As an artist, Wilde’s pursuit of art is the expression of his appeal for self-actualization. The interpretation of aestheticism by Basil and Henry denotes this need of Wilde; (2) As an aristocrat, Wilde also wants to be respected by the society, which is reflected in Dorian, while as an ordinary man his love need and physiological need are reflected in Basil’s feelings for Dorian and Henry’s admiration for hedonism. Hopefully, this study might help readers better understand Wilde and his works, and achieve a deeper understanding of the artist’s complicated personality and psychology, the complexity and difficulty of the artistic creation, and various forms of artistic expressions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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