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Comparing the Myth in Ovid's Echo and Narcissus and Wilde's Dorian Gray

Assignment id 1014410
Discipline Self Improvement
Assignment type Essay
Words 1268
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Contemporary Ancient Myth in Ovid's Echo and Narcissus and Wilde's Dorian Gray Whenever a story is told, elements of the original are often changed to suit new conditions and present societies, or to offer a fresh perspective. Over the centuries, Ovid's tale of "Echo and Narcissus" was told many times to new audiences, and at the late nineteenth-century, it took the kind of The Picture of Dorian Gray. "Echo and Narcissus" is the tale of a beautiful boy that fell in love with his reflection in a pond, and also spurned others who loved him since he was so fixated upon himself. As a result of his intense self-worship and consequent inability to appreciate another, Narcissus perishes. Although several aspects of the first myth are retained in Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is shocking and its characters perpetrate acts that cause ultimate destruction and corrosion. By changing elements of Ovid's original tale, Wilde expands the myth of Echo and Narcissus to mention that the inescapable punishment and destroy that excess desire brings. The prophet Tiresias in Ovid's "Echo and Narcissus" can be contrasted to Basil Hallward and Lord Henry Wotton in The Picture of Dorian Gray because play a role in determining the protagonists' destiny. Tiresias enigmatically decides Narcissus' fate by revealing that Narcissus will "live to see ripe old age...If he never knows himself" (Hendricks 93). In foreseeing the boy's long run, the prophet functions as a type of father figure to Narcissus, whose real father is absent from his life. Narcissus can't escape out of Tiresias' prophecy, and when he gains knowledge of his beauty, or "knows himself," Narcissus is plagued by self-improvement that destroys him. Thus, the prophet affects the boy's fut...

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