The Dictionary defines moral as recognizing the distinction between right and wrong. It also defines corruption as being immoral. Thus, it can be concluded that moral corruption is the inability of distinguishing between what is right and what is wrong. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, Dorian Gray truly portrays such a characteristic. He gradually becomes increasingly more morally corrupted as he becomes more comfortable with himself. He portrays his stages of moral corruption in many ways, including his initial stages and the culmination of his corruption.
In the beginning, Wilde describes Dorian as a young man with charming good looks. Dorian is a respected man in ...view middle of the document...
“But you must not think too much about it.” (125) Dorian feels horrible for the way he had spoken to Sibyl the previous evening but he is not regretful for anything that had happened because he claims that it had taught him to know himself better, just as Henry had been teaching him.
Since Henry could not be around Dorian all the time, he gives him a book, which expands on Henry’s opinion of how Dorian should act. So, even though Henry Wotton is not present for most of the novel, he is continuously an evil presence in Dorian’s life through the book he had given him.
All these things that Henry had taught him begin to show in Dorian’s everyday life. He pursues sexual pleasure, not love, like he had been accustomed to. He yields to every temptation he feels including using drugs for pleasure. Dorian is clearly finding self-fulfillment while disregarding other people’s emotions. He is making all of his decisions without considering what is right and what is wrong. Dorian continuously finds things out about people in order to benefit himself and his own way of life. He takes advantage of others to get himself out of dilemmas. “Why is your friendship so fatal to young men?” (183) While doing this, Dorian is destroying the lives of others. People refuse to be anywhere near Dorian since they are all fearful of how he is going to manipulate them. From the beginning of the novel and through all of these events, Dorian Gray’s moral corruption is quickly heightening and becoming increasingly hazardous to others.
As the novel progresses, the life of Dorian Gray becomes more and more corrupted. It has come to the point where Dorian is nearly completely comfortable with who he is and with what he is doing. Three events really portray this easiness: Basil Hallward’s murder, his paranoia of others, and the destruction of his own portrait.
Basil Hallward had been out of Dorian’s life for a while but he kept hearing negative comments about him. When he finally sees Dorian again, he questions Dorian’s encounters’ with others and he wonders why people no longer enjoy his presence. “I think it right that you should know that the most dreadful things are being said against you in London.” (182) Dorian Gray had become extremely impatient with what Basil had been saying. Therefore, he did what his corrupted mind had told him to do. He murdered Basil. Dorian blackmails his friend to cover up the murder in order to get himself out of the mess he had created. “What you have got to do is to destroy the thing that is upstairs...” (202) His moral corruption is shown when Dorian does not show any remorse for the murder, saying Basil drove ...