Works that have stood the tests of time, such as canonical texts like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, have proven themselves influential over and over again in every field of the arts. They have impacted and altered the course of history and set the bar for other great works of fiction and have even inspired other worlds entirely; moreover, Stevenson’s and Wilde’s work have had a conscious and subconscious effect upon such successful work as Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, and even Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Batman which has a story that spans over decades.
The dualities that ...view middle of the document...
However, he becomes bored with his seemingly mundane life and begins to experiment with man’s darker desires.
I had all the characteristics of a human being—flesh, blood, skin, hair—but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning. (Ellis 282)
Much like Dorian, Patrick’s obsession with living this pseudo-hedonistic lifestyle is brought about by a realization of (what?) and obsession with beauty and bore. Where Dorian finds that the only thing in life worrying about is beauty, Patrick spends hours each day attempting to upkeep his own, but their obsession grows darker with their desires. Eventually their lifestyle, regardless of high levels of lavish (what?), leads to both Dorian and Patrick to commit heinous crimes such as murder and so forth. In the end of each novel, their obsessions with the hedonistic leads them to lose part of their sanity. Patrick breaks down and goes insane and confesses every crime that he has partaken in to his trustworthy friend, and from every terrible act he has indulged himself in Dorian, in a fit of rage, stabs to death his own trustworthy friend, and then has an epiphany and vows to become a better person.
While the climax and ending to each novel vary somewhat, the arc tends to remain eerily the same. Two men, who become bored with their mundane lives, form an obsession with beauty, and find solace in the immoral. It is undoubtedly certain that Wilde’s novel influenced, if not guided Ellis’s novel by the hand. By reading the original text, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the reader can further understand the intent and theme behind American Psycho. However, there are some key differences in between the two texts that one needs to take note of before comparing the two texts. Where Dorian indulges in his desires, Patrick seems to spark new ones by past crimes, even experimenting with cannibalism at one point. All said and done, American Psycho is much more keen and even eager to explore the desires of not just the average human, but the psychopath as well. Yet, like Dorian states, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it” (Wilde 40).
Similar to Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Robert Louis Stevenson's novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde deals with the same indulgence of immoral subject matter but on an entirely different level. In Stevenson's novella, Dr. Jekyll is a renown physician who, much like Dorian or Patrick, seeks to indulge in his more primal nature. However, Jekyll does not want to lose his social standing, so he creates a formula that allows him to transform into another form of self. A younger, more underdeveloped, man emerges after taking the concoction to allow Jekyll to embody so that he can go commit any act he wishes without...