A loss of innocence is inevitable. It cannot be so that an individual may live without the purity of their soul being stained, for it is within human nature to be destructive. Although this nature can be concealed with a goodness through nurture, acts of corruption from others can trigger the nature within to reveal its evil. Regardless of the efforts one may put into hiding their evil, radiance of this destruction disguises itself as a human flaw. A flaw which an individual would perceive themselves to possess, which causes the individual to degrade themselves, thus corrupting the wall of goodness made to prevent the evil from being released, in all its destruction. Basil Hallward, in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a character whose innocence is unmatched, for he holds no negative thoughts towards Lord Henry, despite his actions, and holds only admiration for a person such as Dorian, whose sins have caused his own soul to rot. Lord Henry Wotton, on the other hand, seems to be antithetical in comparison with Basil. His hedonistic beliefs cause him both to be corrupt, and to spread this corruption onto others. Speaking from a personal perspective, I believe it’s fair to say that I have been corrupted, transformed by the other Lord Henry’s in the world. I feel that I may represent the Basil who Lord Henry had succeeded in corrupting.
Throughout my life, I have been shrouded by goodness and kindhearted people. Yet still, I feel as though my darker side has been exposed to the world. And for so long I had wondered what went wrong. I considered the fact that maybe it was simply destined to be. That I was created and sent here in order to prove that humans are naturally evil. To prove that, no matter what preventive actions one takes, it is impossible to permanently conceal innate destruction with artificial goodness. It strikes me, however, the fact that although all humans possess such destructive power, if everybody had the ideal of hiding that darkness, what could have triggered the corruption to spread? In an idealistic world, indeed everybody would be working towards nurturing their goodness in order to conceal their darkness. However, it appears that there is always someone who only sees the bad in others. Looks at others as tools to which they could use to climb to a higher extent, to get what they want. But who would be so malicious as to want to watch the world burn? Well knowing that even the smallest spark could incite the fire within others, who could be so corrupt as to allow the world to plunge into darkness. The answer, of course, is ourselves.
Although we can try to conceal our destructive nature with nurtured goodness, our nature will never fail us. Small portions of our evil are always being displayed, as a flaw. But our acknowledgement of these flaws is what may rouse the inner destruction. Rather than embracing it as part of our personality, we do everything in our power to remove this flaw, and in that moment, we procure other flaws to hide the original. Such is what happened to Dorian. His flaw being his lack of a strong sense of identity, Dorian found a part of his satisfaction in himself in the words of Lord Henry. He believed that Henry provided him with a method to conceal his flaw by imposing an identity upon Dorian. And as Dorian was adapting to this identity, he was unable to continue nurturing his goodness that was preventing his darkness from becoming rampant. And thus, as Dorian wasted more time on pursuing an ideal set by another individual, his internal nature was slowly released, and portrayed through his portrait. Dorian had resigned his goodness, in an attempt to remove his flaws. In effect, Dorian allowed himself to be corrupted.
As humans, due to our destructive nature, it is far too simple for us to corrupt ourselves. Over the years, I have found that the only way to counter corruption, which is formed from the lack of love within oneself, is to embrace one’s qualities for how they are given.