THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

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Book Reports
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THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAYBy Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray: Dorian Gray is a young man who was born into a rich family. At a very young age, his parents died. He is easily impressionable and takes everything to heart. He is easily influenced, which leads him to change drastically throughout the book. He becomes cruel, much like Lord Henry. This eventually leads to his downfall."Dorian Gray had been poisoned by a book. There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful" (150).

Lord Henry Wotton: Lord Henry is a close friend of Dorian. Dorian and Henry meet through a mutual friend, Basil Hallward. Henry is cruel and pessimistic. He sees himself as better than others, and influences Dorian into agreeing with his cynical beliefs."I make a great difference between people. I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool. They are men of some intellectual power, and consequently they all appreciate me. Is that very vain of me? I think it is rather vain" (10).

SUMMARY: After accidentally selling his soul to remain young forever, Dorian Gray begins his transformation from a caring young man to a sinful, hedonistic  villain. While a painting of Dorian visualizes all his sins, Dorian gets to remain beautiful eternally. It isn't until Dorian reaches a breaking point that he destroys the painting, and in turn, killing himself.

LAST LINES: "When they entered they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was."Dorian has just stabbed the painting, which caused all of the sins he committed in his life to be projected onto himself. This causes him to become old and ugly, which leads Dorian to kill himself.

IRONY: Irony is shown when Basil Hallward, another one of Dorian's close friends and the artist of the notorious painting, tells Dorian about the rumors he has heard about him. Basil says that none of them could be true, because normally when someone sins, it appears on them physically. This is ironic because while they haven't appeared on Dorian, they have appeared on his painting, and all the rumors are true.

SYMBOLISM: An object of symbolism in the story is the book that Lord Henry gives Dorian. This accelerates Dorian's spiral into corruption, and symbolizes Lord Henry's influence on him.

THEME 2: Another theme that is portrayed in the novel is that it doesn't matter what someone looks like on the outside, everyone is capable of wrongdoing. This is true in the novel because while Dorian may be very pretty and innocent-looking, he was an awful person.

THEME 1: One theme of the novel is that peer pressure can lead to tragedy. This is true to the novel because Lord Henry continuously pressures and influences Dorian into becoming a horrible person.


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