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Chad Price

Professor. Kathryn McDonough

English 102_06
March 24, 2015
Journal 10
After reading The Picture of Dorian Grey by author Oscar Wilde,
one could clearly come to the conclusion that there is a hidden
representation of the role women in the Victorian era. In Wildes novel,
the readers are introduced to several women that all share similar
The women of the Victorian Era were held to a certain standard
that they had to uphold. In the middle class and higher, women were a
part of what was considered the domestic sphere. They were required
to make sure their husbands had meals prepared, a tidy home, and to
raise the children. Women were at the bottom of the hierarchy and
seen as the inferior citizens, often being considered as property to their
husbands and not as their spouses.
Lady Victoria was introduced to readers very early in the book.
Wilde describes her as a lady who is foolish; she tries to be stylish but
just ends up looking unintelligent. She is also the complete opposite of
her husband, she has no appreciation for art, or any of the finer things
in life; she is considered to be a shallow woman. She doesnt play
much of an important role in the novel, besides being vain.
Lady Agatha, who was Lord Henrys aunt, was an activist in
charity work in the London slums. She was a woman that was very high

up and respected in the Victorian era. She is a huge fan of Dorian in
the beginning of the novel.
Sibyl Vane was a beautiful and talented actress who just so
happened to be in a relationship with Dorian Grey. Sibyl eventually falls
in live with Dorian, however acting is all she has ever known how to
love. So when she realizes she has fallen in love with Dorian, she
confesses her love to him, and Dorian ends up leaving her, saying that
he only loved her for her talent. She then ends up killing herself the
night Dorian leaves because she does not want to live a false life when
she missed out on her chance for real love. In my opinion, I think Wilde
is a contenting woman to weakness when he has Sibyl commit suicide.
I couldnt imagine suicide being accepted in the Victorian Era, so it was
clearly a sign of failure. Saying that if a man denied a woman his heart,
her only result was to take away her life, especially because these
events had no affect on Dorian Grey.
The Duchess of Monmouth was a considered to be an England
socialite. Grey often flirted with in the novel, yet he never acted on it. I
can recall a dinner they had with Lord Henry present, this is when
Dorian receive his nickname Prince Paradox.
When it came to the minor characters of The Picture of Dorian
Grey, such as Mrs. Leaf, and Hetty. When get to know that Hetty is
another woman who Grey seems to find attractive. She is a country
girl, who did not pursue her relationship with Dorian because she did

not want to ruin her innocence. Mrs. Leaf, however, was simply the
woman who managed Dorians estate.
The male characters of Wildes novel seem to all view the women
differently. Dorian saw the woman art, something that can inspire
people. When he talks to Sibyl he says She makes them as responsive as a
violin. She spiritualizes them, and one feels that they are the same flesh and blood as
ones self (Wilde, 226). This was a quote I thought expressed his love, which he denied
for Sibyl well. Lord Henry views women as he views himself in a way, almost like they
are a mirrored image of what he sees himself to be, he says says Men marry because
they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed (Wilde, 211).
This displayed that he had no respect or value for women, his wife, and does not feel
women are even deserving of the right to marriage.
The image of women that was displayed in novel was quite interesting and
certainly gave me a new perspective on viewing things in the Victorian Era.

Works Cited
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray: Authoritative Texts, Backgrounds, Reviews
and Reactions, Criticism. Ed. Michael P. Gillespie. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.

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