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According to Oscar Wilde’s ideas, “The purpose of life is the development of ourselves, the perfect realization of our nature; this is our reason of being. But nowadays men are afraid of themselves.” This idea is analysed in the second chapter of “The picture of Dorian Gray”, in which way, Oscar Wilde underlines the difficulties of men in the society, which they are afraid of, because are scared to be themselves, for this reason, it is easy to be another one more than to be ourselves. An example of this theory is “Dorian Gray”, a very weak and naive figure, who spends his life under the influence of Lord Harry, who believes in the aesthetic philosophy with an elegance and bravado that persuade Dorian to trust in the principles he espouses. Becoming the perfect realization of his theories about life and about the behaviour of men, so much so that he leaves the loved girl. Dorian, unable of affirm himself and his true principles, becomes a machine under the control of Lord Harry. Solely after the view of his soul, thanks to portrait, he realizes the consequences of his unbridled aestheticism. Unfortunately, for Dorian, the realization comes too late to save his soul form its degradation. Even if Wilde believes in principles of aestheticism, the realization of ourselves, as Dorian’s demise illustrates, with this theory, is impossible. Wilde tries to follow the aesthetic philosophy in his life, eliciting daze and scandal, with challenging attitude and protest against the society, which is cold and rigid, based on the appearance, and not on essence. A society where the artist, to be considerate, has to give the public what public wants and not what the artist feels, a superficial and materialist society. A divided, degraded, where wealthy people become more rich and where the poor have to live in vary bad conditions. This period is also influenced by the industrialisation, which even if it creates so many positive changes, on the other hand there are many downsides such as the poverty. Wilde recognises that aestheticism needs to be properly controlled.
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