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The Picture of Dorian Gray is an allegorical story which reveals human difficulties of accepting reality. Wilde depicts the contradictory relationship between truth and beauty, being and appearing. Dorian’s life becomes a work of art while the portrait represents his soul and his true self. The protagonist is the expression of the hypocrisy of Victorian society which was based on appearances; instead, the picture reveals the dark side of this corrupted context. The moral of the novel is that art is eternal, every sin must be punished and reality cannot be escaped. In fact, when the protagonist destroys the portrait, he kills himself. In that moment he becomes the horrible old man he actually is while the picture is restored in its original beauty.
Wilde criticizes the Utilitarianism of Victorian Age, showing the hypocrisy of society, based on appearances. His hedonistic view denounces the primacy of morality, utility and reality of art. According to the Aesthetic conception, there aren’t moral or immoral books; artists are creators of beautiful things, they aren’t morbid and they can express everything. Wilde’s works reveal a break with the Puritanism of Victorian Age, characterized by the repression of sexuality, in fact, aesthetes consider life as a work of art and they live every sensation without moral limits.

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