This study attempts a comparison between two very different writers on the basis of a character who appears in both of their works. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, he is Lord Henry Wotton. In Senilità, he is Emilio Brentani. These characters represent what the Italian critic Giacomo Debenedetti saw as the domination of inner life over action. Because of this imbalance, these characters through psychological and creative manipulation convince others to become actors in their own dramas. Additionally, this study seeks to account for Debenedetti's anxiety over reading Svevo by suggesting that the critic feared these characters because they are able through imaginative means to alter the world with impunity.