Historically, the color white has been used as a motif of both life and death. For instance, white is the traditional color of wedding dresses in both western and Japanese cultures. White is used to symbolize purity in western culture weddings. On the other hand, white is used to signify the death of the old family and introduce the new family. In the novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, one of the most vital motifs is the color white. The meaning of this color develops as the novel progresses and corresponds in relation to the trajectory of Dorian’s character.
Even though the motif never physically amends in appearance, it is successful in transforming its’ meaning entirely. Indicating the immense dissimilarity in Dorian from the start of the novel to the end. In the opening of the novel, the color white is used to express Dorian Grey as a character of purity and youth. For example, while Basil is describing the first time he met Dorian, he says that, “When our eyes met, I felt that I was growing pale” (9. ) This suggests that the color white resembles a kind of lucidity, as if Dorian’s righteousness eases all that he communicates with.
Likewise, Lord Henry frequently describes Dorian’s youth as his, “rose-white boyhood” (21. ) and, “the white purity of boyhood” (37. ) In both quotations, the color white is used the resemble innocence of youth by pairing the word with “boyhood. ” The color white gives Dorian’s appearance liveliness. For instance, Lord Henry notes that Dorian’s soul has, “Turned to this while girl and bowed in worship before her. ” (58) The “white” in describing the girl (Sibyl) symbolizes a youthful transparency, one that is shared with Dorian. The motif’s significance has reached its highest level of goodness at this point of the novel.
As the novel progresses, the color white begins to take on another meaning. As an example, while Sibyl Vane was performing in “Romeo and Juliet” she was described by, “The curves of her throat were the curves of a white lily…yet she was curiously listless. ” (82. ) This exemplifies how Sibyl still maintains her corporeal attractiveness but her vivacity is no longer present. The motif has now shifted into being negative, implying a lack of enthusiasm. The once flawless and talented Sibyl, who previously exemplified the color white has turned into, “A third-rate actress with a pretty face” (84. ) according to Dorian.
Her poor performance profoundly influences Dorian by, “Dorian Grey turned pale as he watched her. ” (82. ) Afterward Dorian withdraws his adoration for Sibyl by looking, “proud, pale and indifferent. ” (83. ). The color white once illustrated Sibyl’s innocent love now stands for Dorian’s deficiency of affection overall. Severely hurt by Dorian’s lack of love for her, “The girl grew white, and trembled. ” (85. ) While the color white was previously used to depict Sibyl and Dorian’s first kiss, it is now used in her reaction to losing Dorian. The motif shifts from resembling ardent fervor to ardent sorrow and concern.
The color that earlier presented Sibyl with a reason to live wholeheartedly, eventually drove her to commit suicide. Lord Henry explains the means of her death as possessing, “either prussic acid or white lead in it. ” (96. ) This quote is used to express the color white as poison like the other two poisonous chemical compounds. At this point in the novel, the color white is a symbol of poison. Towards the end of the novel, the color white is used to embody death. For instance, while Dorian is upset with Sibyl’s premature death he says, “Can they feel, I wonder, those white silent people we call the dead? ” (97. In contrast to representing vigor and beauty, the color white now demonstrates demise. Likewise, basil refers to her corpse declaring, “Why, there are horrors in store for that little white body of hers! ” (105. )
Conversely to Dorian, Basil’s usage of the motif acknowledges the innocence of Sibyl as a person. This signifies that only Dorian’s insight of the color has changed. The color has become evil to him. In addition, the motifs implication is similar to the portraits manifestation, as Dorian’s appearance stays the same. When basil asks to see the atrocious portrait, Dorian reacts by turning pale and saying, “You must not look at it. (108. ) Basil was pale the first time he met Dorian because of his timid fear towards Dorian’s purity. At this point, Dorian’s paleness is because he is worried his secret is endangered of being revealed and his wicked soul could possibly be exposed. The fear Basil experienced in the beginning of the novel is different from the fear Dorian feels now. Basil grew scared because of respect and admiration, while Dorian grew scared because of his regret and humiliation. In conclusion, Dorian Gray’s unchanging exterior is unable to prevent the alternation of the world around him and more significantly, his own soul.
The color white has become a symbol in the book that imitates Dorian Grey’s character. Its appearance stays the same as the story evolves, it begins to develop a meaning much less than innocent. Similar to the color white portrayed in a traditional Japanese wedding, white is used to resemble the death of Dorian’s old self and introduce the new Dorian. The combination between the whiteness of purity in the beginning and whiteness of death in the end allows the reader an apparent understanding of the transformation of Dorian’s soul.
Acct 403 – Mohanned
All answered must be typed using Times New Roman (size 12, double-spaced) font. No pictures containing text will be accepted and will be considered plagiarism). The Assignment must be submitted in (WORD format only). Use 2 to 4 References and write it in the last page by APA style. I want new words, No plagiarism “Please make it 0% percentage (we want put it the solution with the Cove page🙏)
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