Obsession, Destruction and Control - A Film vs. Novel Comparison of Whiplash and The Picture of Dorian Gray College

Although created in different eras, Oscar Wilde’s 1980 gothic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and Damien Chazelle’s 2014 drama film Whiplash are comparable in the exploration of obsession, destruction and control by the text’s creators. Chazelle and Wild analogously explore the concept of obsessions as they evolve in the minds of the protagonists, corresponding through their utilisation of minor characters yet differing in the nature of the fixations examined. Similarly, both texts incorporate the idea of a manipulative dynamic between two individuals, forming contrasts between the methods of control explored by the authors and the diverse techniques employed to examine how fear can influence the characters. As both authors conclude their texts with the destruction of the protagonist, the ending of Whiplash echoes a core motif where The Picture of Dorian Gray exhibits a metaphoric finale. Furthermore, Wilde’s symbolic portrait and Chazelle’s close ups allow each to emphasise an idea of physical destruction arising out of psychological devolvement.

As characterisation and allusion allows the central characters of Wilde’s novel to explore an obsession with physical beauty, Chazelle’s montages reveal the protagonist of Whiplash ...

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