The Picture of Dorian Gray


  • Original language: English
  • Genre: Unclassified
  • Book file uploaded by: erinfarina, on the October 24th, 2010
  • Book file read: 1569 times
  • Rating: 9/10

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  • erinfarina
    Language: English
    Rating: 9

    ‘When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the ring that they recognized who it was.’

    It is a tragic ending of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Set in the 19th century, this story tells us how Dorian Gray, a handsome young man, wishes to live in eternal youth after his mind has been poisoned by a friend, Lord Henry Wotton.

    Lord Henry believes that one should enjoy his life to the fullest without having to feel guilty of committing sins. He believes that Dorian possesses ‘exquisite beauty’ everyone envies, should seek pleasures and not waste his youth.

    Basil Hallward who, early in the story introduces Lord Henry to Dorian, has created his masterpiece by painting the most beautiful portrait of Dorian Gray.

    Upon hearing ideas and philosophies thrown by Lord Henry, Dorian wishes that he would be able to live in eternal youth just like the portrait Basil has painted.

    He falls in love with an actress, Sibyl Vane and then leaves her when one night he discovers Sibyl’s acting is not up to his expectation anymore. The actress kills herself after suffering from great distress.

    Following this suicide, Dorian finds that the portrait changes and becomes hideous. And so, the journey to immorality and destruction of conscience begins after Dorian’s wishes to be immortal have been fulfilled. All the signs of aging are visible on the portrait while Dorian remains young, unaffected by his age. Day after day, he indulges himself in more and more worldly pleasures and sins and everytime he does this, the portrait becomes more horrible.

    Towards the end of the story, Dorian realizes that he has sinned so much and that his youth has destroyed his morality. He wants to change for good but it is too late. Finally, one night he decides to ‘kill’ the portrait by stabbing it with a knife he used to murder Basil.

    However, what his servants have discovered in the room is ‘a splendid portrait of their master – in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty’ and lying on the floor ‘was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart – withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage’.

    It seems that Dorian has gone back to his old self – a mere human – a mortal, who is subject to old age and death. Meanwhile, Dorian preserves his youth and beauty through his portrait that Basil has painted.

    This is indeed an enthralling story, teaching us to be aware that youth and beauty are transient and that it can do us a great deal of harm without our sense of morality. Quoting Oscar Wilde in his Preface – ‘We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely’. In other words, we must not admire human’s creation too much as portrayed by Dorian who is too obsessed with his own beauty and Basil too, who has extreme admiration for his art work because it will only ruin their lives in the end.

  • StormyDay
    Year read: 2010
    Language: German
    Rating: 10

    Loved and hated it. Wonderful book, though a little dark.

  • M.E.M.
    Year read: 2020
    Language: English
    Pages: 280
    Rating: 8

    Very strange. Magic at work? Dorian stars out very nice & innocent, but over time he turns evil and cruel. He and Basil, at different times, blame Lord Henry and his influence on Drian for his changes. But it’s Dorian himself that is to blame. Henry might have ignited the flame, but the kindling (thought/idea) was already there. Poor Basil, I loved him, he was so sweet and kind. Basil & Henry were complete opposites, which made for a very good back-and-forth dynamic. I found Lord Henry to be charming, funny, but also rude and lazy. I loved the ending, it was very fitting. Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for.

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