The Picture of Dorian Gray

Elements of a Traditional Gothic Novel in The Picture of Dorian Gray 11th Grade

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, is a classic example of a traditional Gothic novel, despite the fact that it isn’t scary. Gothic literature received its name because many examples of the genre were set during the late-medieval, or Gothic, period. It became popular in England, Germany, and the United States during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (Buzwell). What many people don’t know about Gothic novels is that they are often based off of Romanticism, a validation of strong emotion and imagination. Basically, Gothic novels combine horror and romance, and do so in a psychological way. A Gothic novel is defined as a novel that deals with frightening or supernatural objects. Through this, it becomes visible already that this story will end tragically.
Gothic novels tend to take place in gloomy settings such as old buildings (particularly castles or rooms with secret passageways), dungeons, or towers that serve as a background for the mysterious circumstances (Andersson). When Dorian attempts to visit the opium den to get rid of Basil’s body, we can clearly see an example of this. “A cold rain began to fall, and the blurred street-lamps looked ghastly in the dripping mist. The public-houses were just...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8013 literature essays, 2248 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in