Still plowing through “Dorian Gray”. Gray the way Poe liked to spell it. I am a slow reader, I know. I have just gotten to the death of Sybil Vane. And the changing of the portrait. Ever so slight a mark of cruelty about the mouth.
Strange since I was just writing about the mirror image of my father. He had the same experience after the first night he had cheated on my mother. Afraid to face the mirror the next day had always prevented him from doing so before. But then nothing had changed he thought when he looked at his reflection the morning after. Was he deceiving himself? Did he make the same kind of dorian rationalization of the fact that his image may change as long he himself remained unaltered to others? As long as only he knew of the change?
Dorian Gray makes this sacrifice on behalf of his unfaltering beauty. Appearance is everything, and ugliness we hide. A sheet, a cloth, a blanket can hide the portrait of the changing Dorian. For us, it is our skin and bones that protect and cover up. Yet, what happens internally cannot be stopped. Metamorphosis is inevitable. And faces do tell on some of us. On those who do not want to hide or don’t know how. The sly ones have it worse because while they remain beautiful to look at, they rot from the inside.
The young Dandy surprises himself when he is able to act cruelly and coldly towards Sybil. Scared of himself and his capabilities of cruelty, he has Lord Henry rationalize it, explain it away. Finding reasons for why he would and could not act in any other way. Part of him is right of course. Sybil decided herself to drink the poisonous substance. It was not Dorian who put it to her lips. And staying with the person one no longer loves or desires would be unreasonable. How much is Dorian responsible then? Does the guilt lie within the actions of the girl or simply within his initial outburst, no matter what the outcome? Is it the uncivilized monster that appears at the surface that is in need of punishment, the one we all have to supress in order to have a society? I’m not sure about any of these questions yet. I will have to read on and keep wrecking my brain. Wonder if there are any answers anyway. Or if there should be. Sometimes I enjoy going around in circles…
’til next time.