Dorian Grey Review

In the novel The Picture of Dorian Grey homosexuality is an important aspect of the novel, and the book
deserves credit as a pioneering depection of homosexual relationships in serious English fiction. The depection
of homosexualtity in the book is undoubtedly shaped by Wilde’s personal ambivalences toward his own
sexuality which is found expressed both in idealized love affairs and in liaisions with prostitutes. It is important
to stress that the novels primary intrest is literaty rather than biographical, and that Wilde hints at homosexuality
rather than expresses it directly. Homosexual readers would certainly have responded to the book’s under
current of gay feeling, and may have found the very name Dorian suggestive of Greek homosexuality, since it
was the Dorian tribesman who allegedly intorduced homosexuality into Greece as part of their military regimen.
Wilde purposely leaves the exact nature of the sins of Dorian Grey mysterious and vague, suggested but not
Wilde’s attitude toward homosexuality in the novel may best be seen in his portrayal of Basil Hallward.
Hallward is the character mast clearly defined as homosexual, and it is significant that he is presented as the
most morally sensitive character as well. His love for Dorian seems altogther noble, especially in contrast to the
blandishments of Lord Henry, his rival for the young man’s affection. In the triangle formed by the competition
of the two older men for the attention of the beautiful boy, Basil represents an idealized, platonized
homosexuality, linked to a long tradidtion of art and philosophy. Wilde conceives of Basil’s homosexual love
for Dorian as something positive but dangerous, an emotion that inspires guilt and fear: measures , respetively,
of the internal and external condemnations brought to bear against homosexuality.
In the end it seems that it is Basil homosexual love for Dorian that ultimately leads to the destruction of
himself. He comes to Dorian to confront him about roumors of his curroption and pleading with him to deny
the charges. He is then taken to the picture and in horror he begs Dorian to pray. He says “I worshipped you too
much, and I am punished. You worshiped yourself too much.” Overcome with rage and realization Dorian
stabs Basil in the head with a knife, in order to free himself of the excruciating confrontation of reality.