Book Name: The Picture Of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde


The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel centered on Dorian Gray, a handsome but sensitive young man who recently inherited a fortune. The setting is London in the 1800s, better known as the Victorian era. At the start of the novel, Dorian is seen arriving in London where he quickly meets a friend named Basil Hallward. Basil, a painter becomes obsessed with capturing the beauty of Dorian through painting. This painting by Dorian is well on the way to being Basil’s masterpiece. Next, Dorian meets another man named Lord Henry who is almost the opposite of Basil. Lord Henry is completely fascinated with the pursuit of pleasure and practices it by making fun of those who try to alleviate human suffering. Lord Henry is a crooked person. He tells Dorian that he should take advantage of his youth and seek all the fun he can. Lord Henry points out to Dorian that although he looks good now, in time everything will disappear.


   When Basil finishes his portrait of Dorian, it immediately begins to serve as a reminder that although Dorian's painting will remain beautiful, Dorian himself will age and lose his youthful beauty. Having been influenced by Lord Henry, Dorian wishes the painting to endure time and sin in its place. In exchange, he offers his soul. Interestingly, Basil's point of view is the opposite of Lord Henry's. He embraces the idea that beauty is so breathtaking because it doesn't last. It's not something to hang on to. Dorian then meets Sibyl Vane with whom he falls in love. Due to his new love, Dorian rejects Lord Henry’s philosophy of hedonism or the pursuit of pleasure. Next, Dorian, Henry, and Basil all go to the theater to watch a play that Sibyl is starring in. However, Sibyl's performance is horrific, and Henry and Basil eventually leave. Due to her true love for Dorian, she has no interest in playing the characters in the plays. She decides to stop playing.


   Dorian immediately rejects her, believing that he had fallen in love not with her, but with her acting. He maliciously tells Sibyl that he never wants to see her again. After a night of wandering, he returns home and finds that the portrait has developed an ugly contempt. Repelled by this, Dorian realizes that he wants to apologize to Sibyl the next day. However, it is too little too late because Sibyl committed suicide that night. Sadistic Lord Henry distorts the meaning of Sibyl's death. He convinces Dorian to regard his suicide as an artistic expression of love and not to be sad about it. The portrait becomes more grotesque with each sin committed by Dorian which motivates him to hide the painting. Then, Dorian is fascinated when he begins to read a book about a young Parisian who spends his life seeking pleasure. He has the book bound in 12 different colors to match his different moods. As he continues to see the age of painting, he worries that someone will break into his home and steal it.


  As he lived his scandalous lifestyle, he acquired many enemies who would love to expose Dorian if only they knew the truth. Years had passed when Basil saw Dorian in the street. Basil tries to bring him back to the proverbial side of the light. He begs Dorian to use his power and influence for good, as opposed to the evil he is using them for. Dorian declares that he would like to show his soul to Basil, and Dorian leads Basil into the room where he keeps the portrait locked up. Shocked, Basil sees the disgusting, festering version of Dorian in the painting. Struck with rage by the portrait, Dorian assassinates Basil. The next morning, Dorian asks for help in disposing of the body of Alan Campbell, who is a scientist and a close old friend. Campbell refuses at first, but eventually agrees to help Dorian when he is blackmailed. In the next scene, Dorian attends a party he finds rather boring. That night, he decides to go to an opium den. Instead of facing his sins, he commits to forgetting them through drug addiction.


  After leaving the opium pit, he is followed by a man who turns out to be Sibyl's brother, James. James seeks revenge. However, Dorian deceives James into believing that he is not Dorian as he has the face of a 20 year old and around 18 years have passed since Dorian and Sibyl's relationship. James later learns from a lady in the opium pit that it was actually Dorian and that he just isn't getting old. Then, Dorian receives a guest in his domain. However, he falls ill when he sees James's face outside. Although at first he locks himself in his house to avoid James, he eventually goes on a hunting trip. A man is accidentally shot, and it turns out to be James. Dorian is relieved. Dorian then speaks with Lord Henry and hints that he had killed Basil. Speaking out loud, Dorian wonders if he can change. He notes that before, he had not taken advantage of the daughter of a young innkeeper. However, when he goes to check the paint to see that it has helped, the paint is even worse. Now he has taken on a cunning look and a hypocritical wrinkle. Frustrated, he stabs the heart of the painting. Dorian Gray becomes the grotesque and purulent man in the painting, while the painting regains its original beauty. Dorian Gray is dead on the ground, sword in his heart.

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