Oscar Wilde : The Picture of Dorian Gray
London: Lord Henry Wotten was at home in his living room and he was smoking. In his living room, there was a big portrait of a young men and Basil Hallward, a great artist, stood in front of it. They talked about the portrait and Lord Henry wanted to convince Basil to send it to the Art Gallery, but the artist didn’t want to. They also talked about a man, whose name was Dorian Gray. Basil met Dorian Gray at a party two months before and he had an emotion, that told him that he and Dorian Gray were destined to meet. So he introduced himself to Dorian.
Basil told Lord Henry about Dorian Gray and, that this being was his inspiration and that he liked him very much.
Lord Henry went to this aunt, Agatha, who talked to him about Mr. Gray. He was a young and good.-looking man, who helped her once. But Hallward didn’t want anyway to introduce the Lord to Dorian, but after a long discussion they went to Dorian’s office.
Hallward and Lord Henry went into Mr. Gray’s office. They talked about many things. After half an hour then they went outside in the garden for a walk. They spoke about Basil’s painting and they tried again to convince him to bring it to the Art Gallery, but Basil became angry. Dorian begged Basil to give him this painting, because he thought that it had something magic in it. Instead of aging himself, the picture would age for him.
Lord Henry went to visit his uncle George. His uncle thought that his nephew wanted some money, but Lord Henry didn’t. He asked his uncle about Dorian Gray. He knew that his grandfather was Lord Kelo and his mother a Devereux. His uncle told him that Mrs. Devereux was a very nice girl. She married, but after two months the poor chap died. After a year she also died and left a son. He talked long about Mrs. Devereux. Lord Henry went to Aunt Agatha’s for lunch. On the way he thought about Dorian Gray and he decided to be to him, without knowing it, the way Dorian was to the painter of the wonderful portrait. When he arrived, he saw Mr. Gray at the and of the table and next to him sat the Duchess of Harley. Then the duchess asked the Lord how to become young again and he told her to repeat the mistakes she did when she was young; nobody believed it.
Dorian decided to tell his friend Basil and Lord Henry about the girl he fell in love with. Her name was Sibyl Vane and she was an actress. The Lord tried to explain Dorian that it wasn’t a good idea to fall in love with an actress, because they were fake and boring people, but the young man didn’t listen to Henry’s words.
Sibyl was a very nice and intelligent young girl. She was only seventeen years old. Her next role was the Julia in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julia. Of course Dorian went to see her and after the show he introduced himself to that wonderful lady. For Dorian this girl was sacred and he didn’t care about what the others said.
The seventeen-year-old girl fell immediately in love with the young and rich, twenty years old guy. When she came home, she told her brother and her mother about Dorian, but she didn’t know his name, so she called him Prince Charming. Her brother was very jealous and told his sister to be prepared if she was disappointed in the end, because it wasn’t true love. These were James’ words before he packed his things and went to Australia. When he already was out of the house, he gave a kiss to his mother and told her to take care about Sibly and that he would kill “Prince Charming” if he disappointed his sister. Few week after they first met, Sibyl and Dorian engaged to be married.
Basil wasn’t happy at all of the engagement of Dorian and Sibyl. He was afraid of, that this relationship between Dorian and an unknown actress, would ruin the young man. But Basil could understand Dorian’s emotions, quite contrary to Lord Henry, who kept on commenting on the relationship. At the same time Basil realized that he had lost a good friend, who was Dorian.
Dorian, Basil and Lord Henry went to another show of Dorian’s big love Sibyl, but this time he wasn’t that happy and amazed like the first time he saw her acting. Sibyl was very strange and Dorian noticed this immediately. Usually she acted only the feelings, but this time her emotions were real thanks to her Prince Charming. But Dorian had to disappoint the lucky girl : she wasn’t anymore the girl whom Dorian wished she were, so Dorian left the young lady.
At home Dorian looked at his portrait and there was a little difference on it. Now, there was a barbarous expression on his face. He saw it on the mouth. There he noticed, that his wish had become true. The mistakes he did flew on the portrait and changed and destroyed it slowly.
Some weeks after he had left Sibyl, he became conscious about what he did. In a letter he prayed Sibyl to forgive him, but she never answered the letter. Lord Henry told Dorian some day later that Sibyl had poisoned herself some day before he wrote the letter to her. Dorian showed no reaction to the bad notice, which was strange. From there on the young man decided to get a better person and to enjoy the time left him. Through his fooling the portrait continued to alter, but Dorian didn’t care about it.
Suddenly from one day to the other Dorian changed his lifestyle, but Basil continued to see his good side. Basil thought about the old times and decided to bring his picture to the Art Gallery. He realized that art was much more than shapes and colors. He asked his friend to bring him his picture, but Dorian couldn’t, because the picture was almost completely destroyed. The two men became friends again, but Basil didn’t see the picture.
Dorian never told Basil about the defacement of the picture and bemoaned it. Now he realized that Basil’s love to him was able to rescue him. He hid the half destroyed picture in a secret attic. After that Lord Henry gave him a book: it spoke about a young man in Paris, who lived his same life, as it was destined to Dorian.
For the next eighteen years Dorian Gray lived the same life, which lived the man in the book Lord Henry gave to him. For all those years he kept his beauty, but the portrait became more and more hideous. He felt full of fear. His soul was destroyed. He tried not to think about this bad situation: he did many other things and fascinated other people. He became an ideal, but at once his miserable situation made him weak.
The day before Dorian Gray’s thirty-eightth birthday Basil talked to him, asking him to try to be a good person and to not let him be influenced by Lord Henry. Basil talked to Dorian because he thought that behind Dorian’s beautiful face, there couldn’t be a bad spirit. As a sign of forgiveness between them Dorian decided to show his friend the addled picture in the secret attic.
Chapter 13, 14, 15:
Basil was shocked when he saw the picture. It was horrible. He looked at Dorian with a very angry face, but Dorian was even angrier than the painter: Dorian accused his friend that he was the responsible for those bad moments Dorian had to live, because it wasn’t he who destroyed the picture, but the picture destroyed him. Between them a fight began, Dorian hated Basil so much for this painting, that he killed him with few stabs of a knife. Dorian flew and left the dead body in the attic.
In the morning he looked for Alan Campbell, and old friend. He blackmailed Alan to hide the stiff and to tell nobody what had happened the night before. Campbell wanted some money of course, but Dorian knew a big secret of Alan, which had been the end for if Dorian had told someone. So he brought the stiff near the forest and dissolved Basil’s body at night. He hid the ashes under a thorn bush. The only things left from Basil, was his coat and his bag, which Dorian kept in his office.
In the evening there was a big dinner at Lady Narborough’s with many guests. Among them also Dorian and Lord Henry were be found. Of course Lord Henry didn’t know, that his friend the painter was murdered. Nonetheless Dorian was anxious and he didn’t eat much. Lord Henry watched him all the time, and Dorian knew that. He became very nervous and was the first guest to go. First he went home, but then he went to his office to get Basil’s coat and bag. He brought the things home and burned them in the oven. His house was the only one, where the chimney smoked.
Chapter 16, 17:
Dorian Gray had no contact anymore with Lord Henry, and he had no other friends. Sibyl was dead and he murdered Basil. He lived alone and to make his life a little bit more comfortable, he sometimes went to a secret Opium bar. One day while Dorian was smoking the drug, he was recognized by James Vane, Sybil’s brother. He had heard about the death of his sister and had come back from Australia, because he promised he would kill the man, Dorian Gray, who harmed his sister so much, that she didn’t want lo live anymore. Fortunately when James Vane saw Dorian’s young face, he couldn’t believe that this was the man with whom his sister fell in love twenty years before. Of course he didn’t know that his picture had aged instead of him, so he let Dorian go.
But in the next days James Vane discovered the truth about Dorian Gray. Vane found out where Dorian’s office was. He looked for him there, but he didn’t find him. On the desk in the office, there was a letter with Dorian’s address written on it.
Suddenly Dorian heard a noise; he looked out of the window and there he saw James Vane’s dark and scary face. He saw the hate on his face. Dorian closed all the curtains in his apartment and locked the door, but anyway he heard the noise and fainted.
Dorian couldn’t sleep anymore, he was anxious and he rued the murder on Basil Hallward. Few days after the evening, when Vane came to his house, a hunter shot accidentally a man, whom Dorian Gray recognized as James Vane, whom he had last seen in the evening a few day before. After the death of James, Dorian felt safe; he did not have to hide anymore.
Dorian decided to live a normal life and to follow good people; he wanted to live a more comfortable life. He told Lord Henry and he also accused him for his bad situation: everything in his life went wrong, because Henry gave him this book. Dorian was never destined to such a bad life. It was Henry who chose this future for him with that book. But the Lord didn’t want to discuss and asked Dorian for forgiveness. He also promised that he never gave the book to anyone else and that was what he did.
Dorian complained about his dead soul, but nonetheless he tried to start a new life. He awoke to the thought that his first intention and his dream of eternal youth had ruined his life. He lost many things and now he was poor and powerless. The proof was the ruined, almost completely destroyed picture, which he kept in his secret attic. He decided to ruin the painting and to cancel his past. With the same knife he killed Basil, he stung in the picture. Dorian felt a horrible pain; he had killed himself. Suddenly his face became dark, old and full of wrinkles, but the man on the picture was young and an idol of beauty.
The author: Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, in the capital city of Ireland. He was the son of William Wilde and Lady Jane Francesca Wilde. He had a very good education. He was thought by his mother, who was a brilliant teacher. As a child he was frequently invited with his mother to socialize with her friends, since he was educated by his mother, so he didn’t know other children of his age.
In 1871 Oscar Wilde went to Trinity College. In 1874, he transferred to Oxford and studied there, where he also experimented with homosexuality. In 1884, Wilde married Constance Lloyd, and the two moved to London. Throughout the 1890s, he wrote and published one of his masterpieces, the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
In 1897, while he was in prison, he wrote “De Profundis”. After his release, he moved to France under a false name. The author died in 1900 in Paris a hotel room.
The picture of Dorian Gray is very well known in the whole world. I chose it because I often heard about it, but I had no idea how it was. Oscar Wilde wrote it in English, and masterpieces should be read in the original language.
The story is complex and not simple to understand, but very interesting, especially the end. I never thought that the book, would finish in that way. Generally a good author surprises the reader with the ending, and Oscar Wilde did it in this novel. The picture of Dorian Gray is a very special book, that can involve the reader in the story or not. It depends on our imagination. Thanks to mine, I can say that it was very interesting and I enjoyed it much.
(c) Jenny Kostner