Dorian Gray Essay Research Paper The Picture

Dorian Gray Essay, Research Paper The Picture of Dorian Gray KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS SETTING The novel is set in London at the end of the nineteenth century;

Dorian Gray Essay, Research Paper

The Picture of Dorian Gray

KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel is set in London at the end of the nineteenth century;

one chapter is set at Dorian Gray’s country estate, Selby Royal.

CHARACTERS

MAJOR CHARACTERS

Basil Hallward – the artist who paints the portrait of Dorian Gray.

He is so enamored of Dorian Gray that he feels himself dominated

by Dorian. His art changes when he paints Dorian Gray. He is

eventually murdered by Dorian Gray when he tries to urge Dorian

to reform himself.

Lord Henry Wotton – the aristocrat who corrupts Dorian Gray

with his ideas that morality is hypocrisy used to cover people’s

inadequacies. He decides early on that he wants to dominate

Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray – the object of fascination for everyone. He is the

most beautiful man anyone has ever seen. He prays that he should

change places with a portrait painted of him when he is quite

young. He prays that he will stay young forever and the portrait

will show signs of age and decadence. His prayer comes true and

he remains beautiful even while being corrupt.

CONFLICT

PROTAGONIST

Dorian Gray, a man who is jolted out of oblivion at the beginning

of the novel and made aware of the idea that his youth and beauty

are his greatest gifts and that they will soon vanish with age.

ANTAGONIST

Lord Henry Wotton, the bored aristocrat who tells Dorian Gray

that he is extraordinarily beautiful. He decides to dominate Dorian

and proceeds to strip him of all his conventional illusions. He

succeeds in making Dorian live his life for art and forget moral

responsibility.

A secondary antagonist is age. Dorian Gray runs from the ugliness

of age throughout his life. He runs from it, but he is also fascinated

with it, obsessively coming back again and again to look at the

signs of age in the portrait.

CLIMAX

The climax follows Sibyl Vane’s horrible performance on stage

when Dorian Gray tells her he has fallen out of love with her

because she has made something ugly. Here, Dorian rejects love

for the ideal of beauty. The next morning, he changes his mind and

writes an impassioned letter of apology, but too late; Sibyl has

committed suicide.

OUTCOME

Dorian Gray becomes mired in the immorality of his existence. He

places no limit on his search for pleasure. He ruins people’s lives

without qualm. His portrait shows the ugliness of his sins, but his

own body doesn’t. His attempts at reform fail. He even kills a

messenger of reform–Basil Hallward. Finally, he kills himself as

he attempts to “kill” the portrait. He dies the ugly, old man and the

portrait returns to the vision of his beautiful youth.

PLOT (Synopsis)

The novel opens in Basil Hallward’s studio. He is discussing his

recent portrait of Dorian Gray with his patron Lord Henry Wotton.

He tells Lord Henry that he has begun a new mode of painting

after his contact with Dorian Gray, a young man of extraordinary

beauty. He doesn’t want to introduce Lord Henry to Dorian

because he doesn’t want Lord Henry to corrupt the young man. He

says he is so taken with Dorian Gray that he feels the young man

dominates all his thoughts. When Lord Henry meets Dorian Gray,

he finds him to be totally un-self-conscious about his beauty. Lord

Henry talks to Dorian Gray of his philosophy of life. Lord Henry

finds all of society’s conventions from fidelity in marriage to

charity toward the poor to be hypocritical covers for people’s

selfish motives. Dorian Gray feels the weight of Lord Henry’s

influence on his character. When they see the finished portrait of

Dorian that Basil has painted, they are enthralled by the beauty that

Basil has captured. Dorian bemoans the inevitable loss of his

youth. He wishes that he could change places with the painting,

that it could grow old and he could stay the same.

Lord Henry decides to dominate Dorian Gray just has Basil has

told him Dorian Gray dominates him. They have dinner at Lord

Gray’s Aunt Agatha’s house. She is a philanthropist and Dorian

has been working with her. Lord Gray wittily ridicules the goals of

philanthropy and Dorian is swept away by his logic.

Weeks later, Dorian tells Basil Hallward and Lord Henry that he

has fallen in love with a young actress named Sibyl Vane, who acts

in a run-down theater. He tells them he is engaged to Sibyl Vane.

At the Vanes’ house, Sibyl tells her mother of how much she is in

love with her young admirer, whose name she doesn’t know, but

whom she calls Prince Charming. Mrs. Vane thinks her daughter

might be able to get money out of the aristocratic young man.

Sibyl’s brother James, on the other hand, hates the idea of a rich

man using and then leaving his sister. It is James’s last night on

shore before he ships off as a sailor. Before he goes, he vows to

kill the man if he ever hurts Sibyl. He learns from his mother that

his and Sibyl’s father was an aristocrat who vowed to take care of

the family financially, but died before he could.

Dorian arranges a dinner with Basil and Lord Henry, after which

they will go to the theater to see Sibyl Vane act. He tells the other

men how amazed he has been by Sibyl’s acting talent. When they

arrive at the theater and the play begins, they are all appalled at

Sibyl’s horrible acting. The two other men try to console Dorian

Gray, telling him it doesn’t matter if a wife is a good actor or not.

He tells them to leave and he stays on in torment through the rest

of the play. When the play is over, he goes back stage to talk to

Sibyl. She tells him she doesn’t care that her acting was so bad.

She says she realizes that she can no longer act because she is in

love with him. Before, she could act because she had no other

world besides the created world of the stage. Dorian tells her he is

ashamed of her and disappointed in her. He tells her he only fell in

love with her because of her artful acting. Now he feels nothing for

her. Sibyl begs him not to leave her, but he refuses to listen and

walks out.

THEME

MAIN THEME

The main theme of The Picture of Dorian Gray is the relationship

between beauty and morality. Oscar Wilde plays on the

Renaissance idea of the correspondence between the physical and

spiritual realms: beautiful people are moral people; ugly people are

immoral people. His twist on this theme is in his use of the magical

contrivance of the portrait. The portrait of Dorian Gray bears all

the ugliness and age of sin while Dorian himself remains young

and beautiful no matter what he does. The portrait even holds

Dorian’s guilty conscience, at least until he kills Basil Hallward.

MINOR THEME

The minor theme of the novel is the idea of the amorality of art. If

something is beautiful, it is not confined to the realm of morality

and immorality. It exists on its own merits. This idea is expressed

by Lord Henry in its decadent aspect and by Basil Hallward in its

idealistic aspect. Dorian Gray plays it out in his life.

MOOD

The mood of the novel is a counterbalance between the witty,

ironical world view of Lord Henry and the earnest and

straightforward world view of Basil Hallward. Dorian Gray goes

back and forth between these two poles. The novel does too. At

times, it is the world of urbane wit making light of the moral

earnestness of philanthropists. At times, it is the melodramatic

world of lurid opium dens and tortured suicides.

OVERALL ANALYSES

CHARACTERS

Basil Hallward: Basil Hallward is perhaps an old-fashioned

representative of the aesthetic movement. He lives his life artfully,

making a mystery when there is usually predictability, for instance,

in his habit of taking trips without ever telling people where he’s

going. He dedicates his life to art and, when he sees Dorian Gray,

decides to found a new school of art, one devoted to the youthful

beauty of his subject. His home is filled with beautiful things. He

has clearly devoted his life to the pursuit of the aesthetic as a way

of life.

He is an old-fashioned aesthete in the sense that he is willing to

give up art for the sake of moral responsibility. When he sees

Dorian has become upset over the portrait he paints of the boy, he

is willing to destroy the painting. This is a painting he has just said

is the best work of his artistic career. Basil Hallward is the only

one in Dorian Gray’s life who beseeches him to reform himself. In

this respect, Basil Hallward is the moral center of the novel. The

novel opens with him and the plot action sees a sharp downward

turn when he is murdered. Basil Hallward play a small role in the

novel, only appearing at three points in Dorian Gray’s life, but his

influence is great.

Lord Henry Wotten: Lord Henry is the radical aesthete. He lives

out all of the precepts of the aesthetic movement as outlined in the

Preface to the novel. He refuses to recognize any moral standard

whatsoever. He spends his time among aristocrats whom he

ridicules in such a witty fashion that he makes them like him.

When the novel opens, he and his opposite in aestheticism are

discussing the protagonist, Dorian Gray. Basil Hallward earnestly

enjoins Lord Henry to leave Dorian Gray alone, not to interfere

with him, not to exert his influence on the youth. Lord Henry

ignores Basil’s plea entirely. He never has a qualm about doing

just the opposite of what Basil begged him to do. He immediately

begins to exert his influence on the beautiful Dorian Gray, an

opposite influence to that which Basil Hallward would wish for.

He makes Dorian Gray self-aware, self-conscious, and even self-

involved. He gives Dorian Gray an inward focus and ridicules

Dorian’s attempts to find an outward focus in philanthropy. He

takes Dorian Gray around to all the fashionable salons and drawing

rooms of the London aristocracy showing him off, encouraging

him in his self-gratifying pursuits.

When Dorian Gray attempts to reform himself at the end of the

novel, Lord Henry remains true to his long-established purpose. He

ridicules Dorian’s attempts to deny his gratification for a greater

good and thus makes Dorian feel it is futile to attempt to reform.

At the beginning of the novel, Basil Hallward scoffs at Lord

Henry’s amoral aphorisms, saying that Lord Henry always says

bad things but never does anything bad. Basil Hallward feels that

Lord Henry’s amorality is just a pose. By the end of the novel,

when Lord Henry takes Dorian’s last chance of reform away from

him, the reader might assume that Basil Hallward was wrong. Lord

Henry is immoral in his supposed amorality.

PLOT: Oscar Wilde plots The Picture of Dorian Gray on a model

of descent. Dorian Gray begins at the height of his beauty and

innocence. Basil Hallward is also at the height of his artistry at the

opening of the novel. The novel is the inexorable downward slide

of the protagonist, however secret that downward slide is. When

Basil Hallward recognizes the depths to which Dorian Gray has

sunk, he attempts to pull him out of it and is killed for the attempt.

When Dorian Gray attempts to bring himself back into moral

rectitude, he fails.

The secondary plot structure of the novel is the triangular

relationship among Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward and Lord Henry.

In the first few chapters f the novel, Wilde sets up the triangle.

Basil Hallward is enraptured with Dorian Gray’s beauty. Dorian

Gray doesn’t yet recognize the power this gives him. He doesn’t

even recognize the power of his beauty. Then comes Lord Henry,

the man who brings Dorian Gray into self-consciousness and pulls

him away from the influence of Basil Hallward. Basil Hallward

dies trying to bring Dorian Gray back under his influence. The

novel ends with Dorian making a last, pitiful attempt to convince

Lord Henry to release him from his influence.

When Dorian Gray attempts to destroy the portrait, he is trying to

destroy the link between art and morality, the link which Lord

Henry has forever denied. The attempt kills him. Oscar Wilde

suggests that there is a vital link after all between the beautiful and

the good.

THEMES

Under debate in The Picture of Dorian Gray from beginning to end

is the relationship between beauty and morality. Oscar Wilde sets

up the triangular relationship along the lines of this debate. Basil

Hallward takes the position that life is to be lived in the pursuit of

the beautiful and the pleasurable, but he is unwilling to divorce the

good from the beautiful. Lord Henry, on the other hand, goes

through life throwing one aphorism after another together to prove

the non-existence or the hypocrisy of morality. In the character of

Dorian Gray and in his relationship to the his magical portrait,

Oscar Wilde dramatizes this debate.

In the Renaissance, people believed in the idea of correspondences.

They saw correspondences between the heavens and the earth.

When something went wrong on the social scale, they looked to

the skies for similar upsets. In the literature of the Renaissance,

storms always accompany social upheaval. In like manner, there

was seen to be a correspondence between beauty and virtue. If a

person was beautiful, it was assumed that she or he was also

virtuous. If a person was ugly, it was a assumed this person was

corrupt. The face told the story of the soul.

Oscar Wilde takes this Renaissance idea of correspondences and

sees how it works in the world of the aesthetes. The aesthetes of

the 1890s were intent on developing a positive philosophy of art.

Art was not the classical notion of a mirror held up to life. Art was

to be regarded as autonomous. In its own right, it was to be

celebrated. It was no longer to be subordinated to life as a mirror is

subordinate to the object mirrored. If a comparison was granted, art

was superior to life. It was timeless, unchanging, and perfect.

In detaching art from its representational function, the aesthetes

were also detaching it from its moral aim. Victorian writers had

long held art up as valuable for its ability to instruct and correct its

readers. The aesthetes wanted no moral task assigned to art. Art

existed for its own sake, not as moral instruction, and not as a

mirror held up to life. Aesthetes might have overstated the point. In

the Preface to Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde sounded the keynote of

the aesthetic movement when he wrote “There is no such thing as a

moral or an immoral book” and added, “No artist has ethical

sympathies.” Ironically, his novel is just that. It is a moral book.

Wilde uses the magical contrivance of the portrait as a way to play

on the themes of art in life, life as art, and the amorality of art. For

the aesthetes, if something is beautiful, it is not confined to the

realm of morality and immorality. It exists on its own merits. This

idea is expressed by Lord Henry in its decadent aspect and by Basil

Hallward in its idealistic aspect. For Lord Henry, there is no moral

imperative. The true lover of beauty is safe to pursue art and

pleasure and should think of conventional morality as the enemy of

beauty. For Basil Hallward, the beauty should be pursued because

it idealizes the viewer. It makes the world a better place. The world

is made morally good when it enjoys the beauty of art.

Dorian Gray is the beautiful one who plays out the ideal of art in

his life. For Basil Hallward, he is the one who can make his

contemporaries better people. For Lord Henry, he should pursue

pleasure and beauty for no end other than self-gratification. Dorian

follows the way of Lord Henry. Oscar Wilde keeps in the forefront

of the novel the ideal which Basil Hallward sets up with the use of

the portrait. The portrait of Dorian Gray bears all the ugliness and

age of sin while Dorian himself remains young and beautiful no

matter what he does. The portrait even holds Dorian’s guilty

conscience, at least until he kills Basil Hallward.

Art bears the sins of the age. The portrait of Dorian Gray bears all

the traces of his sins. It loses its innocent look and begins to look

contemptuous and then downright vicious. Dorian Gray, on the

other hand, retains the innocent look of youth and so people have a

great deal of difficulty believing the stories about his bad habits.

Dorian Gray’s portrait even bears the weight of his guiltiness.

Since he doesn’t have to pay for his sins in the loss of his looks, it

is easier for him to leave them behind and never repent of them.

When he is confronted by Basil Hallward, he is confronted by his

creator. Without Basil’s portrait of him, Dorian would have had a

very different life. He kills Basil when Basil begs him to reform.

Dorian hates the creator, the one who enabled him to sin as he has

in the first place, and so he kills him. After Basil’s death, though,

Dorian cannot go on as he did before. Without his creator, he loses

his ability to leave all his sins to mark the portrait. He gets nervous

and edgy. Vengeance comes out of his past in the form of James

Vane and stalks him. When he is let off the hook by James’s

accidental death, he doesn’t feel relief. He attempts to go Basil’s

way after all, but it is too late. He has no moral grounding to

support moral choices. The only end possible for him is to kill the

art that has poisoned his life. In doing so, he kills himself.

Oscar Wilde ended up writing a moral book after all. The novel

shows the lesson that has been told over and over in story after

story. Guilt will always out. There is no escape from a guilty

conscience. All crime must be paid for.

CHAPTER 1

In a richly decorated studio an artist, Basil Hallward talks with a

guest, Lord Henry Wotton about a new portrait he has standing

out. Lord Henry exclaims that it is the best of Hallward’s work and

that he should show it at Grosvenor. Hallward remarks that he

doesn’t plan to show it at all. Lord Henry can’t imagine why an

artist wouldn’t want to show his work. Hallward explains that he

has put too much of himself in it to show it to the public. Lord

Henry can’t understand this since Hallward isn’t a beautiful man

while the subject of the portrait is extraordinarily beautiful. As he

is explaining himself, he mentions the subject’s name–Dorian

Gray. He regrets having slipped, saying that when he likes people,

he never tells their names because it feels to him as if he’s giving

them away to strangers.

Lord Henry compares this idea to his marriage, saying that “the

one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception

absolutely necessary for both parties.” He adds that he and his wife

never know where the other is and that she’s always a better liar

than he is, but that she just laughs at him when he slips. Basil

Hallward is impatient with Lord Henry for this revelation, accusing

Lord Henry of posing. He adds that Lord Henry never says

anything moral and never does anything immoral. Lord Henry tells

him that being natural is the worst of the poses.

Hallward returns to the idea of the portrait. He explains that “every

portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the

sitter.” The sitter only occasions the production of the art. The

painter is revealed, not the sitter. He won’t, therefore, show the

secret of his soul to the public.

He tells the story of how he met Dorian Gray. He went to a “crush”

put on by Lady Brandon. While he was walking around the room,

he saw Dorian Gray, “someone whose mere personality was so

fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb by whole

nature, my whole soul, my very art itself.” He was afraid of such

an influence, so he avoided meeting the man he saw. He tried to

leave and Lady Brandon caught him and took him around the room

introducing him to her guests. He had recently shown a piece that

created a sensation, so his cultural capital was quite high at the

time. After numerous introductions, he came upon Dorian Gray.

Lady Brandon says she didn’t know what Mr. Gray did, perhaps

nothing, perhaps he played the piano or the violin. The two men

laughed at her and became friends with each other at once.

He tells Lord Henry that soon he painted Dorian Gray’s portrait.

Now, Dorian Gray is all of Hallward’s art. He explains that in art,

there are two epochal events possible: one is the introduction of a

new medium for art, like the oil painting, the second is the

appearance of a new personality for art. Dorian Gray is the latter.

Even when he’s not painting Dorian Gray, he is influenced by him

to paint extraordinarily different creations. It is like a new school

of art emerging. Dorian Gray is his motive in art.

As he is explaining the art, he mentions that he has never told

Dorian Gray how important he is. He won’t show his Dorian Gray-

inspired art because he fears that the public would recognize his

bared soul. Lord Henry notes that bared souls are quite popular

these days in fiction. Hallward hates this trend, saying that the

artist should create beautiful things, and should put nothing of his

own life into them. Dorian Gray is often quite charming to Basil,

but sometimes he seems to take delight in hurting Basil. Basil feels

at such moments that he has given his soul to someone shallow and

cruel enough to treat it as a flower to ornament his lapel. Lord

Henry predicts that Basil will tire of Dorian sooner than Dorian

will tire of him. Basil refuses to believe this. He says as long as he

lives, Dorian Gray will dominate his life.

Lord Henry suddenly remembers that he has heard Dorian Gray’s

name. His aunt, Lady Agatha, has mentioned him in relation to

some philanthropic work she does, saying he was going to help her

in the East End. Suddenly, Dorian Gray is announced. Basil

Hallward asks his servant to have Mr. Gray wait a moment. He

tells Lord Henry not to exert any influence on Dorian Gray

because he depends completely on Dorian remaining uncorrupted.

Lord Henry scoffs at the idea as nonsense.

NOTES

Chapter 1 sets the tone of the novel. It is witty, urbane, and ironic

with only brief moments of deep feeling expressed and then wittily

submerged. The artist of the novel is Basil Hallward. He seems to

be in love with his most recent model, Dorian Gray, whom he

considers more than a beautiful man, but an inspiration to a new

form in his art. The intensity of his feelings for Dorian Gray and

the art that Dorian Gray inspires has to do with his sense of

identity. He doesn’t want his portrait of Dorian to be shown in

public because he feels as if he’s put something essential of

himself in it. That is the seed of the novel. The artist paints himself

when he seems to be painting another.

Lord Henry is here for ironic relief and the production of

aphorisms (short statements of truth) that irony spawns. He voices

Oscar Wilde’s signature expressions. He says, for instance, “It is

only the intellectually lost who ever argue.” One of the most often

quoted of his aphorisms: “there is only one thing in the world

worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

He thinks of the luncheon he missed in lingering with Hallward. It

had a philanthropic motive, upper class people gathering to discuss

ways to share a bit with poor people, the idle people discussing the

dignity of labor, the rich people discussing the value of saving

money. Basil Hallward also has his own aphoristic rules of life. He

never tells people where he’s going when he travels as a way to

keep mystery in his life. He never introduces people he likes to

other people because he feels it would be like giving them away.

CHAPTER 2

When they walk from the studio into the house, they see Dorian

Gray at the piano. He tells Basil that he’s tired of sitting for his

portrait. Then he sees Lord Henry and is embarrassed. Basil tries to

get Lord Henry to leave, but Dorian asks him to stay and talk to

him while he sits for the portrait. He adds that Basil never talks or

listens as he paints. Lord Henry agrees to stay.

discuss Dorian’s work in philanthropy. Lord Henry thinks

he’s too charming to do that kind of thing. Dorian wonders if Lord

Henry will be a bad influence on him as Basil thinks he will be.

Lord Henry thinks all influence is corrupting since the person

influenced no longer thinks with her or his own thoughts. He

thinks the “aim of life is self development.” He doesn’t like

philanthropy because it makes people neglect themselves. They

clothe poor people and let their own souls starve. Only fear

governs society, according to Lord Henry. Terror of God is the

secret of religion and terror of society is the basis of morals. If

people would live their lives fully, giving form to every feeling and

expression to every thought, the world would be enlivened by a

fresh impulse of joy. He urges Dorian not to run from his youthful

fears.

Dorian becomes upset and asks him to stop talking so he can deal

with all that he has said. He stands still for ten minutes. He realizes

he is being influenced strongly. He suddenly understands things he

has always wondered about. Lord Henry watches him fascinated.

He remembers when he was sixteen he read a book and was

immensely influenced. He wonders if Dorian Gray is being

influenced that way by his random words. Hallward paints

furiously. Dorian asks for a break. Basil apologizes for making him

stand so long. He is excited about the portrait he’s painting, and

praises Dorian for standing so perfectly still as to let him get at the

effect he had wanted. He says he hasn’t heard the conversation, but

he hopes Dorian won’t listen to anything Lord Henry tells him.

Lord Henry and Dorian go out into the garden while Basil works

on the background of the portrait in the studio. Dorian buries his

face in a flower. Lord Henry tells him he is doing just as he should

since the senses are the only way to cure the soul. They begin to

stroll and Dorian Gray clearly looks upset. He’s afraid of Lord

Henry’s influence. Lord Henry urges him to come and sit in the

shade to avoid getting a sunburn and ruining his beauty. Dorian

wonders why it’s important. Lord Henry tells him it matters more

than anything else since his youth is his greatest gift and that it will

leave him soon. As they sit down, he implores Dorian to enjoy his

youth while he can. He shouldn’t give his life to the “ignorant, the

common, and the vulgar.” He thinks the age needs a new

Hedonism (pursuit of pleasure as the greatest goal in life). Dorian

Gray could be its visible symbol.

Dorian Gray listens intently. Suddenly, Basil comes out to get

them. He says he’s ready to resume the portrait. Inside, Lord Henry

sits down and watches Basil paint. After only a quarter of an hour,

Basil says the painting is complete. Lord Henry proclaims it his

finest work and offers to buy it. Basil says it’s Dorian’s painting.

When Dorian looks at it, he realizes he is beautiful as Lord Henry

has been telling him. He hadn’t taken it seriously before. Now he

knows what Lord Henry has meant by youth being so short-lived.

He realizes the painting will always be beautiful and he will not.

He wishes it were reversed. He accuses Basil of liking his art

works better than his friends. Basil is shocked at this change in

Dorian. He tells him his friendship means more to him than

anything. Dorian is so upset that he says he’ll kill himself the

moment he realizes he’s growing old. Basil turns to Lord Henry

and says it’s his fault. Then he realizes he is arguing with his two

best friends and says he’ll destroy the painting to stop the

argument. Dorian pulls the knife away from him to stop him. He

tells Basil he’s in love with the portrait and thinks of it as part of

himself.

The butler brings tea and the men sit down to drink it. Lord Henry

proposes they go to the theater that night. Basil refuses the

invitation, but Dorian agrees to go. When they get up to go, Basil

asks Lord Henry to remember what he asked him in the studio

before they went in to see Dorian. Lord Henry shrugs and says he

doesn’t even trust himself, so Basil shouldn’t try to trust him

NOTES

Beauty lives only for a moment. The theme of this chapter is also one of the central themes of the novel. Dorian Gray is introduced

as an un-self-conscious beauty. In the course of this chapter, he is

made self-aware. He recognizes his beauty when he sees it

represented in Basil Hallward’s portrait. He is prepared for this

recognition by Lord Henry who, in the garden, urges him to spend

his youth on youthful pursuits, not on philanthropy, and warns him

that his youth is his best gift and that it won’t last. All of Basil

Hallward’s fears of Lord Henry corrupting Dorian Gray seem to

have been borne out.

CHAPTER 3

It is 12:30 in the afternoon and Lord Henry Wotton is walking to

his uncle’s house. Lord Fermor had in his youth been secretary to

his father, an ambassador to Madrid. When his father didn’t get the

ambassadorship of Paris, he quit in a huff and Lord Fermor quit

with him. From them on Lord Fermor had spent his life devoted

“to the serious study of the great aristocratic art of doing absolutely

nothing.” He pays some attention to the coal mines in the Midland

counties, “excusing himself from the taint of industry on the

ground that the one advant

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