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The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde, first published in 1890. The story is a fable about the desire of eternal youth. The protagonist has a painting of himself in his attic, and whenever he does a bad deed, it shows up on the painting while the man stays the same. Eventually, he stabs the painting in anger and is found dead on the floor, looking as old and ugly as the painting did, and the painting has returned to its original appearance.

The novel was controversially reviewed by William Ernest Henley.


Dorian Gray is a very handsome younger man living in England. His artist friend, Basil Hallward, is obsessed with his beauty and paints a perfect portrait of him. Dorian sees the finished painting and wishes that the picture would grow old and ugly instead of him - so he would stay just as the picture looks and the picture would look like him. Lord Henry, another friend of Basil, talks to him about Dorian, and influences Dorian to do many of the things he will.

Dorian falls in love with the acting of an actress, Sibyl Vane. She loves him back, but being in love makes her act badly. He rejects her, and she commits suicide. After this, Dorian notices that his painting has a sneer on it, so he locks it in an unused room. Over eighteen years, Dorian becomes more and more evil, but looks the same as always, while his painting has become ugly and distorted. Dorian eventually kills Basil for discovering his secret.

Dorian feels guilty over this, and goes to an opium parlor to lose himself. There, he sees Sibyl's brother, who tries to kill him, but he escapes. Later, the brother is accidentally killed by some hunters. Dorian decides to make up for the past life and become a new man, but with the help of his painting, he realizes he is just a hypocrite. He stabs the painting. His maids hear a crash, and goes to see what happened. The painting is just like it was when it was painted, and Dorian is lying stabbed on the floor, looking like an old, ugly man.


The novel has been adapted for stage[?] and film numerous times. In the film adaptation of the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Dorian Gray has been included in the team and is not only eternally young, but also immortal with the ability to shrug off any wound.

External link

http://www.upword.com/wilde/dorgray - online text

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