The crucial theme present throughout C.S. Lewis’ “That Hideous Strength” and Oscar Wilde’s “The picture of Dorian Gray” is morality, and how it can be influenced. The main characters in C.
S. Lewis’ novel, Mark and Jane Studdock, go through very contradicting paths and join opposite in objectives, organizations; at the same time they share similar feelings (solitude, confusion, paranoia) and carry out immoral actions in the attempt to run away from the problems.On the other hand, in Oscar Wilde’s novel, the young, beautiful, inexperienced, naïve, Dorian Gray; influenced by his new friend Lord Henry Wotton, forgets his moral values and lives in constant pursuit of individual pleasure. The characters find themselves in different situations, but prove the same statement that an unstable human mind can easily be influenced and forced into wrongdoing.
The main characters in both of the novels, are fooledinto the dangerous influences because of their own youthfulness, naivety, and lack of experience. Dorian Gray listens to Lord Henry due to the lack of a strong parental figure in his life. Dorian was raised by his rich uncle who left Dorian to live his life the way he chose to, that made him vulnerable to influences. In C.S. Lewis’ novel, The National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments (N.I.
C.E.), fools Mark by offering him a new job. The high payroll convincesMark to join the N.I.
C.E. Jane’s peculiar gift (the ability to predict the future in her dreams ) makes her wanted by the N.I.C.
E. agents, they intimidate her and she becomes mentally unstable. The doubt that Jane has regarding the choice between her friends and the N.
I.C.E. puts humanity in danger. What looks like an obvious choice proves to be difficult for Jane to handle under pressure. Although the main characters in these novels represent the same theory, the environments in which; Dorian, Mark and Jane act, are significantly different.
The time in “That Hideous Strength” is in the middle of the 20th century, while in “The picture of Dorian Gray” the events take place during the Victorian Era (19th century). Another difference is in the way the influence is implied to the characters. In the case of Mark and Jane, the N.I.
C.E. intimidates and even tortures the young couple, in order to invoke a mental crisis in them and change their moral values. Then Mark starts carrying out immoral actions for the N.I.C.
E.,such as writing propaganda material, etc.In Oscar Wilde’s novel, Lord Henry usesa different method of persuasion, based on achieving a strong bond between himselfand Dorian. The young and beautiful Dorian believes in Lord Henry,rearranges his lifestyle to become a follower of “New Hedonism”.
His individual needs for pleasure are his only