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Dorian Gray Essay, Research Paper

Throughout time, art has been cherished as a gateway to provoking thought from a hemisphere of the brain most people would otherwise rarely use. A person who has strength in both logic and creativity has always been praised as an enriched mind. Understanding art can bring about emotions and thoughts that can be both positive and harmful. It is easily understood, then, that these feelings can effect our decisions and actions in real life. The art can therefore become animate or alive, in a sense. The viewer causes a manifestation of the inanimate art from the paper or the stage or the canvas into a new and living creation. Art can be both dark or joyful. It all depends on what the artist had intended to provoke inside the mind of the art viewer. Art imitates life, and subsequently, life imitates art. The outcomes of these imitations can both be good and bad.

One good effect from art is the simple emotion of joy that it can be bring about. Some of the happiest moments in life originate from emotions brought about by art. Every time you hear a catchy tune that makes you get up and dance, it is a result of the art. The composer wrote the music with the intentions of making the listener move. The dancer can?t help but smile as they move in sync with the rhythm of the music. Music can also be used to invigorate. There is a reason we have hard music playing in the locker room before football games. It helps to make us more focused and ?pumped? for the upcoming game. A painting or film can also do the same to bring joy. With light colors and the right subject matter one can lift almost any mood. A comical or touching, uplifting movie can bring about the same positive feelings in the viewer. For example, I can laugh for hours at Chris Farley movies. They never stop being funny to me. I find after watching one of his films I am in a much better mood. Science has even proven that when you smile, the muscles used actually trigger a chemical reaction in your body leading to a strengthened immune system. That is why they say, ?laughter is the best medicine?. A positive mental attitude strengthens a person for their life. They live life with an all around sense of well-being. They can handle life?s difficulties without becoming as mentally stressed. They can remain calm to make conscientious decisions. I?m not arguing that art is the cause of all these qualities, but it can be an important factor.

Just as easily as art can alter ones mood positively, it can do it negatively. Art can be disturbing or depressing to a viewer. They can leave a lump in one?s throat, yet one can?t help but to be drawn towards such works. We must constantly remind ourselves that it is just art so as not to grow too attached. Yet there is something in human nature that makes us want to see tragedy. We still enjoy the art. While this can be done wholesomely and healthfully to enrich one?s mind, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by. Too much tragedy can lead to desensitization or, even worse, obsession with darkness. We can always say that it isn?t real. If that is the case, would it not be very easy to separate one?s self from a real tragedy. If said event has no real affect on a given person, they can be unable to sympathize with those in need. The images we see in frozen life or the screen don?t ever have to be real if we don?t want them to. We see Sally Struthers in South America with the impoverished starving children and most of us immediately move on. Although we are being shown images of reality, we can dismiss our emotions because we can tell ourselves it is just what is being shown on television. If it isn?t occurring right before our eyes, we can dismiss it as having nothing to do with us. Art viewers can go to the other extreme as well. They can become unable to discern between reality and fiction. In Oscar Wilde?s The Picture Of Dorian Gray, the main character, Dorian Gray, is unable to discern Sybil Vain?s roles on stage and her real self. He falls in love her characters. ? ?I have had the arms of Rosalind around me, and kissed Juliet on the mouth.?? (78). He is infatuated with the idea of being Romeo. He has sat below the stage and adored Juliet and wants to have her. Sybil, respectively, has lived her life on the stage. It has been her only reality. When she finds love with Dorian, she could no longer act. All the roles she once saw as her life, became too fake for her. ? ?Before I knew you, acting was the one reality of my life….You taught me what reality is. Tonight, for the first time of my life, I saw through the hollowness, the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant in which I had always played.?? (89). Socrates? Allegory of the Cave is very similar to what Sybil is saying here. In the allegory, people are held in a cave all their life and convinced that the shadows shown to them are reality. The Lady of Shalot saw the world through a mirror and the distorted, shrunken images she saw were her only reality. Both Dorian and Sybil had the same problem. They became so obsessed with the art form that they lost the fact that it was just that, art. It can happen to anyone, not just these characters of fiction. Girls fall for rock stars and guys fall for actresses and models. We forget that the person we are seeing in them is in all likelihood not what they are actually like. It is easy to fall in love with an image of someone because in our minds we can create a whole, ideal person. It?s easy to forget that we don?t actually know one thing about the person we are admiring because we cherish what we have created. For Sybil, Dorian?s and her mistake cost her the greatest possible thing, her life. She kills herself because she can not handle the reality of her first real love lost. Dorian ultimately learns nothing as we see him set Sybil?s suicide as a great final tragedy. It is clear he still can not decipher any reality from such a horrible event. We must find a happy medium and remember to appreciate art for what it has to offer while at the same time remembering that it is not real.


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