Freud believed that raising one of the
triarchies of personality above the others in importance would be destructive.
As the reader becomes familiarised with Lord Henry, it is led to believe that
an imbalance of the id, ego and superego is desirable. This is shown in the way
Lord Henry states that “nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common
sense.” This suggests that he believes that the superego is the cause of
destruction, rather than an imbalance of the three parts. At the beginning of
the novel, Basil, the superego, pleads with Lord Henry, “who has a very bad
influence on all of his friends” to not impact Dorian negatively. However,
Wilde presents the superego as being weak compared to the id in the novel, and
this is depicted in the way that the corruption of Dorian begins almost
immediately after he is introduced to Lord Henry and is made to believe that
his fleeting beauty is a curse rather than a blessing. Doing this, Lord Henry
instils in him an irreparable existentialist perspective that drives him to
worship the pleasure principle. In this way, Dorian’s moral demise can be seen
as having been catalysed by Lord Henry, and his hedonistic influence.