The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Scarlet Prayer: Genesis Allegory and Christian Symbolism in The Picture of Dorian Gray College

The Scarlet Prayer: Genesis Allegory and Christian Symbolism in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray and the Bible (NKJV) seem to agree on at least one semblance of doctrine, if only partially. They both maintain that the body is a temple, though the principles to worship within it remain a point of contention between the two. Gray’s religion is a faith of the flesh where one worships on an altar of pleasure. This does not prevent his participation in a narrative full of the themes, narrative structure and principal figures from Biblical history, including the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and the crucifixion at Calvary. Gray’s titular picture, shielding him from the visible consequences of his debauchery, contains an allusion to the Messiah arriving to deliver fallen “mankind” (represented by Gray) from the repercussions of sins against the body’s purity and the will of the creator deity, the God of Abraham. In its role as redeemer and omen, Gray’s messianic painting is the central link in a chain of allegorical and biblical roles spanning from the tempter to the Father himself, and directly parallels the moral history of mankind in relation to the Christian trinity.

Gray’s rapid shift from innocence to inundation in...

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