Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray Essay, Research Paper

Main characters:

Dorian Gray–> 20 years old at the beginning of the book and around 40 at the end. A very handsome young man. he stays young because he sold his soul to the devil.

Lord Henry Wotton–> An intelligent man who has a theory for every-

thing. He has alot of influence on Dorian.

Basil Hallward–> An artist, painter. He gets his inspiration from Dorian. He worships Dorian. He gets killed by Dorian later on.

Theme–> The moral corruption of a young man who enters into a pact with the devil in order to keep his youth and physical beauty.

Setting: The story is set in London at the end of the 19th century

Story out-line:

It’s about a young and handsome man of the high class, Dorian Gray. He poses for Basil, a painter, where he meets Lord Henry. They become good friends. He changes Dorian because of his theories. When Basil is finished with the picture, and Dorian sees it, he feels almost desperate when he realizes that he will grow old and the portrait will remain young. He is prepared to give his soul to make the opposite occur. Then Dorian falls in love with a young actress named Sybil Vane He askes her to marry him and she accepts. Dorian goes to her performance with Lord Henry and Basil. Sybil’s performance is quite bad, she explains to Dorian that now she knows what love is she cannot imitate it any longer. He’s very disappointed and breaks up with her. Meanwhile, the expression of his face on the portrait seems to have changed slightly, showing a touch of cruelty. Sybil commits suicide. Basil asks if he can exhibit the portrait, but Dorian refuses. He locks the portrait in a room upstairs. After his visits to notorious places in London, he watches his ageing portrait and compares it to his own beautiful face. Thirteen years later he shows Basil the painting. Basil wants to pray with him to break the oath, but Dorian stabs him and a red stain appears on the hand in the portrait. He blackmails Alan Campbell, a chemist/biologist, into destroying Basil’s body. Campbell commits suicide afterwards. When Dorian is with a prostitute, Sybil’s brother overhears her call him “Prince Charming”. He follows him but thinks he has made a mistake, but the woman convinces him that he is Dorian Gray. He traces Dorian down but he accidentally gets shot at a hunting party. When Dorian returns to London, he goes to see if the painting changed for the better. The blood stain on the portrait seems to have moved and there is also blood on the feet. Full of disgust he cuts it with the very knife he killed Basil with. The servants break into the room to find hanging on the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him and on the floor a dead body of a disgusting old man with a knife in his heart.


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