Destructive Effects Of The Supernatural St Edmunds College Essay

1033 words - 5 pages

Theo Barrett
Destructive effects of the supernatural in ‘Dorian Gray’ and ‘Dracula’
In both Dorian Gray and Dracula the theme of the supernatural is constant and occurs strongly in the characters, the themes and the settings. There are a handful of characters in each book that show how destructive the supernatural is, and often these characters reflect the settings around them. Both writers were writing at similar times in the Victorian era meaning that they have similar ideas and fears, for example the fear of invasion and change is shown often in both books, this period is known as the fin de siècle. Also, the idea of the ‘new women’ is shown in the female characters. Both books are based on the upper-class societies, meaning that their characters have similar thoughts on the general public and the role that women play in life.
In both books characters are broken down and transgressed due to a supernatural power over them, for example Dorian Gray is broken down due to the idea of Lord Henrys hypnotic speeches that guide him towards the ideas of hedonism, which is a big focus for Oscar Wilde.
Oscar Wilde realised that a big part of the aristocracy was keeping their actions private, behind closed doors they took drugs and had sex, but this was not to be known by anyone else. Dorian Gray gets immersed deeply in Lord Henry’s ideas on life and this caused him to take his freedom to the extreme, he smokes opium and even drives a girl to suicide with his awful behaviour. Dorian’s first encounter with the supernatural is when he makes the Faustian pact for his soul to be swapped with the painting, ‘If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that I would give everything!’ ‘I would give my soul for that!’ In this extract Dorian signs his soul over for eternal youth.
The reader can clearly see that Lord Henry has caused Dorian to become corrupt, this is shown mostly when Dorian realises this for himself, in particular when Dorian looks at his painting and sees a subtle change of evilness in the picture depicting that he has sinned, therefore tarnishing his own soul. Dorian then says, ‘He would not see Lord Henry any more - would not, at any rate, listen to those subtly poisonous theories that in Basil Hallward’s garden first stirred within him the passion for impossible things.’ This extract from chapter seven presents the reader with conformation that Lord Henry is the source of Dorians destruction and he is what causes Dorian to commit so many sins and, in the end, take his own life. Dorian is destroyed due to his paranoia, he is seen as anxious and is concerned that his servants will see his painting so he does anything in his power to hide it. This shows the reader that the supernatural idea of the soul being outwardly shown as evil sends a man insane. We see in the end that the painting drives him to kill his own soul just so that he does not see...

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