Abstract：As the most successful writer after William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 - 30 November 1900) is famous for his plays, novel, fair tales and poems. The Picture of Dorian Gray which is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde not only is the representative work of Aestheticism in nineteenth century, but also shows the unique feeling of Wilde towards beauty. The novel tells a story of the fallen beauty. A lad named Dorian Gray wanted to sell his soul to make his portrait taking the place of himself bearing his sins and age. Unfortunately, he committed suicide in the end. My paper will study the Oscar Wilde’s understanding of beauty and through Dorian Gray’s dramatic life prove that the conception of “beauty” in The Picture of Dorian Gray is both amoral and moral.
Key Words: Oscar Wilde，The Picture of Dorian Gray，Beauty
In conclusion, Wilde writes about beauty in a threefold sense in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The first part is the personal beauty which is pure but fleeting. The second part is much higher but more dangerous: the pursuit of permanent beauty. It is the way that is complex and it is full of temptation. Walking in this way, people may lose themselves easily but if they can keep a pure and disinterested heart and find the beauty in the end, they will taste the sweetest fruits and their lives will also reach a new height. The highest part of beauty is the beauty of arts, which is amoral but also have a strong connection with morality in our real lives. There are only a few people who could get to such a high level, but it is the beauty that we are pursuing and advocating. Although we cannot know what is Wilde’s real notion, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a journey to explore beauty and a journey to explore morality. And there is no denying that morality is a kind of conception of beauty which can last forever in people’s eyes and minds.