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Proposal for A Narcissistic study of The Picture of Dorian Grey

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A Narcissistic study of The Picture of Dorian Grey
General Overview
Oscar Wilde’s The picture of Dorian Grey’s novel is about a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian’s beauty and believes his beauty should not be wasted and it is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil’s, and becomes enslaved by Lord Henry’s world view.

He shows him a new hedonism, and suggests the only things worth following in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. When he realizes that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian feels a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait that Basil has painted would age instead of him. Dorian’s wish is fulfilled, and when he subsequently follows a life of immorality and sin, the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, and each sin appears as a disfigurement in his form, or a sign of ageing on the portrait.

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Statement of the problem
1. Is Dorian Grey a narcissistic person? why?
2. What is Dorian’s reaction toward other characters as a narcissistic person? 3. Is art able to reinforce Dorian Grey’s narcissism?
4. Can narcissism plus hedonism lead to destroy Dorian’s life? 5. Can sexual narcissism leads Dorian Grey to become homosexual?

Significance of the problem
Oscar Wilde has shown the feature of self-love, narcissism greatly in The picture of Dorian Grey. The whole novel is built around Dorian Gray’s physical beauty, and his excess of it. There are many references and hints of narcissism, often comparing Dorian to Narcissus himself, or Dorian’s selfish behavior which at times are classical for the psychological condition of extreme narcissism “Appreciate it? I am in love with it, Basil. It is part of myself. I feel that.”(wilde30). In this novel Oscar Wilde consciously portrays narcissism different aspects.

This research is mostly about Dorian Grey’s narcissism and its effects on his life and his reactions toward other people. Also there are signs of narcissism in other characters that we will study them too. But first we need to know what narcissism is, so there will be an introduction about different kinds of narcissism.


We will study The Picture of Dorian Grey through Narcissism which is an excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. There are different kinds of narcissism such as sexual narcissism and phallic narcissism. This research tries to show and analyze different types of narcissism in the main characters of the novel.

Definition of key terms

Narcissism: is a term that originated with Narcissus in Greek mythology who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Currently it is used to describe the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.

Pathological narcissism: It is the state of having high levels of narcissism such as narcissistic personality disorder; the person’s libido has been withdrawn from the objects in the world and produces megalomania.

Megalomania: It is a psychopathological disorder characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance, or omnipotence, Megalomania is characterized by an inflated sense of self-esteem and overestimation by persons of their powers and beliefs.

Phallic narcissism: When an individual is elitist, a social climber, admiration seeking, self-promoting, bragging and empowered by social success. Also the phallic character conceives of sexual behavior as a display of potency, in contrast to the genital character, who conceives of
it as participation in a relationship.

Sexual narcissism: Sexual narcissism has been described as an egocentric pattern of sexual behavior that involves an inflated sense of sexual ability and sexual entitlement. In addition, sexual narcissism is the erotic preoccupation with oneself as a superb lover through a desire to merge sexually with a mirror image of oneself. Sexual narcissism is an intimacy dysfunction in which sexual exploits are pursued, generally in the form of extramarital affairs, to overcompensate for low self-esteem and an inability to experience true intimacy.

Dysmorphophobia : is a chronic mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the afflicted individual is concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical appearance

Hedonism: is a school of thought that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good. In very simple terms, a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain).Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person’s pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by a student of Socrates, Aristippus of Cyrene. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.

Work cited
1. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics) – Introduction 2. Notes on The Picture of Dorian Gray – An overview of the text, sources, influences, themes and a summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray 3. 2010 | Dublin: One City, One Book”. Dublinonecityonebook.ie. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 4. The picture of Dorian Gray. Illustrated by Lui Trugo”. WorldCat. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 4. Differences between the 1890 and 1891 editions of “Dorian Gray””. Home.arcor.de. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 5. Symington, Neville (1993). Narcissism: A New Theory. H. Karnac Ltd. pp. 6–7. ISBN 9781855750470. 6. Hedonism, 2004-04-20 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Cite this Proposal for A Narcissistic study of The Picture of Dorian Grey

Proposal for A Narcissistic study of The Picture of Dorian Grey. (2017, Jan 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/proposal-for-a-narcissistic-study-of-the-picture-of-dorian-grey/

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