Sibyl Vane Essay

Submitted By rachichi
Words: 784
Pages: 4

Rachel Rowan
Mrs. Gibson
English 2323.01
3 November 2014
The Role of Sibyl Vane The late Victorians, also known as the “first moderns,” wrote with an outrageousness, ritualistic, and suggestive manner. Oscar Wilde was considered the most well-known visible manifestation of the Aesthetic movement; a movement based on the philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. He ruined himself and the ideals he believed in by having homosexual relations, which were considered as hard crimes. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Wilde is a novel that tells of a young man’s seduction, moral corruption, and eventual downfall, but mixed in is a bit of romance. Sibyl Vane, Dorian Gray’s romantic interest for a fleeting moment, plays a symbolic role of a character that helped shape Dorian’s personality and views on life throughout the entire novel. Dorian Gray is described by Wilde as a handsome young man, pure and innocent, but easily influenced by Lord Henry. When Lord Henry first meets Dorian he makes a few observations: “when your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memories of your past will make more bitter than defeats” (25; ch. 2). By a simple speech given by Lord Henry, Dorian begins to view his life differently, leading him down a path of a life full of decadence, embracing everything, moral or immoral mattered not. After hearing Lord Henry’s speech Dorian feels that: “youth is the only thing worth having. When I find that I am growing old, I shall kill myself” (30; ch. 2). A statement that shows Lord Henry has had a great influence over him already. Such easy speech can has such a great influence over Dorian that he begins to change everything about himself. Sibyl Vane is an exquisitely beautiful and innocent young lady that falls in love with Dorian Gray. Further along in the novel Dorian is telling Lord Henry about Sibyl and what it is about her he loves: “Harry, imagine a girl, hardly seventeen years of age, with a little flower-like face, a small Greek head with plaited coils of dark-brown hair, eyes that were violet wells of passion, lips that were like petals of a rose” (57; ch. 4). Dorian is enchanted by her beauty and innocence, and is the catalyst that changes him to a devoted character rather than one of decadence. As the novel goes on, Dorian states to Lord Henry: “I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!”(61; ch. 4). Dorian wants everyone to know how he loves her and how she is the only thing he sees in life now. Moving on from a life of decadence to a life of being devoted is what Dorian has decided by loving Sibyl and having Sibyl love him. The love that Sibyl has for Dorian changes the way she looks at life