I believe a great deal of thought went into the writing of this book. It is very detailed and in addition, it is very hard to sustain an allegory throughout. The Picture of Dorian Gray has many thought provoking phrases and paragraphs. There are many different literary techniques used such as foreshadowing in the first two chapters in very subtle undertones. Also used was a great amount of detail, which sets the mood for certain scenes, such as when, during the painting of Dorian Grays portrait, Dorian and Lord Henry Wotton go into Basil Hallwards garden and converse.
The author wrote the book as an attack on the British Aristocracy. It shows how the upper-crust citizen cared about what showed on the outside and that they wanted to stay ignorant to their souls. There are many, many hints as to this meaning in the book, for example: Lord Henrys line in paragraph 15 of page 206, I admit that I think it is better to be beautiful than to be good. It explains how vain he was. I believe his character was made so utterly absurd to represent the entire upper class of contemporary London. Even the personal meaning of the corruption of Dorian Gray comes down to this one point.
Since the masterpiece took all of the wrinkles, lines, and decay from Dorian Gray, he kept his youthfulness. This is what every upper-classed person would have loved eternal outer beauty. This actually saved his life, in reference to James Vane and his revenge. Then, when he realized how horrible he had become, he ended his own life. The whole reason James Vane went after Dorian Gray was because of his sister, Sibyl.
I felt horribly disgusted over Dorians outburst at Sibyl Vane on her last night. He was in love with her acting, not her, and since she couldnt play a fake lover, because she knew what real love felt like, he became ashamed even to know her and he did the only thing that he thought of.
Another aspect of the book is Carpe- Diem: to seize the day. After the portrait began to change, Dorian Gray only wanted to have fun no matter what the consequences.
I have to be honest, I had a very hard time with this book in the beginning, which is stressed in my journal. Later on, certain things came into focus and I caught on. In other words, I saw the light. I was trying too hard in the beginning, and I looked at in the wrong light both the book and the portrait. At first, I was confused, I didnt know what the author was trying to say and it frustrated me. I was trying to find the meaning of the portraits changing, and how it fit in with a story about a man named Dorian Gray. On one level, I realized the portrait was of his other side, his soul, just as his persona represented the outer trappings of the British high society and, in another light, the portrait represented the inner realism and decay of their culture.
His death meant a great deal to the story, because he finally realized his sins. He saw the horrible things that were happening to people who were around him, and he understood that all their problems/deaths could be ascribed to him. He got a true sense of his conscience, and he knew what he had to do. That relates to the ending of the Victorian Era because British society as a whole broke off some of its false veneer.