In the novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, the author depicts a young, naive man by the name of Dorian Gray who becomes a narcissistic dynamic character because of Lord Henry, a hedonist with a seductive and shallow philosophy. Lord Henry’s negative views affect Dorian’s mindset; consequently, Dorian Gray picks up the same poisonous attributes as Lord Henry leading Dorian to treat his lover Sybil Vane poorly.
Wilde portrays throughout his novel that Dorian’s regard towards individuals has plummeted due to the charming of Lord Henry. Prior to chapter nine, Dorian Gray falls in love and gets engaged to a beautiful, childish actress by the name of Sybil Vane. One night, Dorian goes to Sybil’s play Romeo and Juliet and she turns out to be an abysmal actress. Sybil claims that she cannot fake love anymore because she knows what it really feels like and decides to quit her life on stage. Dorian, infuriated by this decision wishes to never see Sybil again as he was in love with her acting, not her. The next morning, Dorian gets word that Sybil took her own life and he is immediately stunned. The following day, Lord Henry and Dorian’s dear friend Basil offers commiserations for Dorian’s loss, but Dorian brushes off Sybil’s death because “what is done is done.
What is past is past” and nothing can ever change that (Wilde 93). Dorian’s changed reaction to Sybil’s death reveals how stone- hearted he is and Basil seems to think so too. Dorian Gray is gradually influenced by Lord Henry by taking up the same phrases, arguments, and philosophies as him and Basil is the only one that does not have clouded hedonistic judgment. This not only angers Basil but convinces him that Dorian is changing into a toxic, self-indulgent person like Lord Henry.
In other words, Lord Henry is like a devil conscience and Basil is like an angel conscience on Dorian’s shoulders, but Dorian listens to Lord Henry and it makes him very ignorant. Wilde delineates Dorian Gray as an egotistical man who takes after a hedonist and disregards people, dead or alive.