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In “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, the characters Basil Hallward and Sibyl Vane portray goodness, while the character Lord Henry Wotton portrays evil. Another character, Dorian Gray, tries to fight against the evil influence of Henry. However, Dorian eventually chooses to follow Henry down the path of vanity and corruption.  Dorian Gray is a perfect example of a morally ambiguous character as he cannot be defined as purely good or wholly evil. At the beginning of the novel, Dorian Gray is portrayed as a purely good, innocent, unselfish young man. His spectacular beauty makes him all the more perfect. Dorian is not vain and does not believe beauty is all that important. His best friend at the time, Basil Hallward, tells Lord Henry of Dorian and Henry demands to meet him. Basil is quite against them meeting, saying, “He has a simple and a beautiful nature. Your aunt was quite right in what she said of him. Don’t spoil him. Don’t try to influence him.” (Wilde, chapter 1). Basil is fully aware of the negative impact Henry can have on people, and in no way wants Dorian to end up like Henry. When they finally meet, young Dorian rejects Lord Henry’s theories. Yet, the more Henry speaks, the more his words persuade impressionable Dorian toward his views of youth and beauty. This results in Dorian’s selfish act of wishing the portrait Basil painted of him would age instead of him, the first steps on the path of becoming evil.Soon, Dorian begins to avoid Basil, the one good influence in his life. He continues to listen to Lord Henry’s theories and starts to adopt his views until he meets Sibyl Vane. Dorian and Sibyl fall completely in love with each other and they quickly become engaged. Dorian wants to leave Henry’s “poisonous theories” behind him to be with Sibyl, yet his love for his friend, Henry,  holds him back. His inner conflict is shown when he says, “You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things I shall never forget. When I close my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something different. I don’t know which to follow.” (Wilde, chapter 4). However, when Sibyl performs poorly the night he brings Lord Henry to watch her, Dorian is infuriated because it was her beauty and talent that he fell in love with. Though Sibyl tried to explain that she could not pretend to be in love on stage when she was so in love with him, Dorian refused to listen, telling her that he did not love her anymore. Later that night, Dorian realizes that how he treated Sibyl was cruel and wrong, and makes plans to apologize and take her back.  At this point in the story, Dorian still had the ability to see right from wrong and was willing to make amends. Yet, he was too late as Lord Henry brought the news of Sibyl Vane’s suicide. Dorian blamed himself for her death, but Henry eventually convinced Dorian’s grieving mind that it was not. The death of Sibyl pushed Dorian even closer to evil, and as Dorian said of Sibyl Vane, “Then the curtain rises, and you will see the girl to whom I am going to give all my life, to whom I have given all that is good in me”. (Wilde, chapter 7). It seems that if Dorian truly gave all that was good in him to Sybil, that goodness died when she did. With every immoral action Dorian makes, the once beautiful portrait Basil painted of him slowly becomes dreadful. Once Dorian noticed the change, he quickly hid the painting in his attic, so he could watch the change without anyone else finding out his secret. When Basil visits Dorian to confirm if the rumors of his foul lifestyle are true, believing there is still good in him. This causes Dorian to snap and to angrily  Basil upstairs to show him his masterpiece.

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