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Dorian Gray and The Lady of Shallot: Stepping out of the Shadows

Uploaded by PeachiKiwi on Apr 21, 2001

During one’s life, one must step out into the real world and experience all of what the world has to offer. In order to attain a well-balanced life both mentally and socially, one may seek any way possible to live life to the fullest. We were put on this earth to live- not just simply by breathing in and out everyday, and making life the best it can possibly be. It has been said that you have not really died if you have lived. This theory has been applied to several pieces of literature. In the book The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and “The Lady of Shallot” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, two characters have not lived their life to the fullest extent. In the aforementioned literature, the characters of Sibyl Vane and the Lady of Shallot lived their lives through the invulnerability of constant security.

Sibyl Vane is an actress who is greatly devoted to her acting career. She is so consumed by her realm of acting that she does not experience the many other aspects and joys that life has to offer. All her heart, soul, and mind is put into her hobby, as it envelops her entire existence. Sibyl solely depends on this mindset to carry her throughout her life.

Leading a life similar to that of Sibyl Vane’s is the Lady of Shallot. In this poem, she is condemned to weaving and forbidden to ever look out of her window down to the wonderful city of Camelot. If she should look down, a terrible curse shall be laid upon her. Both Sibyl Vane and the Lady of Shallot are artists who lead very sheltered lives and have an unfortunate fate ahead of them. Before the story beings, Oscar Wilde describes the effects that art has on a person. He states, “All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who read the symbols do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors (Wilde 3).”

These sheltered lives allow the women to remain in their safe little worlds, apart from what other ways of life the world has to offer. In order for them to lead a less “curtained” life, they needed to take more chances in hopes of more goodness and reality to welcome into their lives. When...

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Uploaded by:   PeachiKiwi

Date:   04/21/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   5 pages (1,130 words)

Views:   1777

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