The Picture of Dorian Gray… And Lord Henry?

The portrait of Dorian Gray, reflecting every year that goes by and every sin committed, could also be interpreted as a reflection of Lord Henry’s corruption of Dorian. Further, Lord Henry is reflected in this portrait, as he is also a physicalization of Dorian’s greed and negativity. After all, he is the one that imparted these views onto Dorian. Additionally, the portrait of Dorian seems to fill Dorian with negative thoughts and feelings in a similar manner to Lord Henry. There is a particular moment, right before Dorian kills Basil in the room where the painting hangs, that “Dorian Gray glanced at the picture, and suddenly an uncontrollable feeling of hatred for Basil Hallward came over him, as though it had been suggested to him by the image on the canvas” (151). In this moment, Dorian is being influenced in a manner very similar to how he was influenced by Lord Henry. Additionally, the portrait is only the way it is because of Lord Henry’s influence on Dorian, therefore the emotions and thoughts Dorian derives from being around the painting are still a result of Lord Henry. Therefore, in a roundabout way, Lord Henry had a part in the murder of Basil Hallward, but that is neither here nor there – what is important is that the portrait is as much of a reflection of Lord Henry as it is Dorian, and when the painting is influencing Dorian’s actions and feelings, it is inadvertently Lord Henry influencing Dorian.

Just as the portrait is a physicalization of Dorian’s sins, so is Lord Henry. After all, Lord Henry’s life is what influenced Dorian in the first place to follow the treacherous path that led to the committing of so many sins. Lord Henry is the one constantly whispering in Dorian’s ear, whether literally or metaphorically through that odd French novel, influencing his every move in life. This is eerily similar to the way that is influenced by the painting when he is near it, whether that influence be paranoia, guilt, or murderous intent. Additionally, many if not all of the actions Dorian has taken in life that have led to the painting looking the way it does are actions that have been endorsed, encouraged, or inspired by Lord Henry. In fact, although it is not explicitly said, it can be inferred that many of those horrid actions were committed alongside Lord Henry. Therefore, even though the portrait may be a painting of Dorian, each sin committed that alters the appearance of the painting is a reflection of Lord Henry as well as it is Dorian, with their darkest actions intermingling on the canvas.