Tweet "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about," says Lord Henry Wotton, and the audience erupts with laughter.
Rather than being fixed, identities comprise various aspects that we perform, including our gender. Certain gender configurations have come to seem natural in our culture, but they do not have to be. Queer theory encourages people to choose the kind of performance they give in order to change our limited understanding of masculinity and femininity as polar opposites — something Dorian, for all his adventures, fails to do.
He performs some conventional gender roles well, for example as discreet adulterer at the parties of the wealthy. As the years go on, Dorian wearies of the choices left to him. He lacks real interest in house-party sexual games. Perhaps the only role of which Dorian does not tire is one specific to his class and era as well as his gender: Rather, it suggests that in Dorian Gray Wilde shows the role of Narcissus performed in a variety of ways that comment on one another.
Dorian destroys himself through self-love, but in Basil Hallward we have an alternative image of narcissistic desire as a creative force. While Dorian Gray remains a moral parable with a tragic end for its flawed hero, it also suggests that a more fruitful engagement with narcissistic desire is possible to artists of all kinds, of whom Basil is the representative.
Not all need be subject to his fate. An Instant Primer is a useful introduction to queer theory.Literature has often found it useful to employ ideas and terminology from psychoanalysis, and vice versa.
Psychoanalytic critics of Dorian Gray have found a fruitful crossover in the work of French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan (–81). In he began to explore ‘the mirror stage’ in human development.
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Queer theory will also be helpful in exploring discursive use of power to create understandings, and in deconstructing normative conceptions and examining whose ends they serve. Jan 13, · Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray: Reading questions The following questions are meant to guide your reading of the novel a bit, and to .
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (). BACK; NEXT ; Wilde edited more than five hundred words out of the original manuscript of this novel, and everyone still considered it obscene.
(We here at Shmoop would love to know what those five hundred words were) So, the conservative press called for him to be put on trial for obscenity. Each new generation will read The Picture of Dorian Gray in a new manner, deeming different ideas important and different passages significant, depending on what that person’s interpretative community has chosen to demonstrate.
A quick Google Image search for covers of the novel, comparing them across time and culture, will put this into.