The Picture Of Dorian Gray

Started as a short story submitted in 13 chapters to a local magazine, written by Oscar Wilde, eventually reaching fame and stardom due to its controversial and though provoking nature. The Picture of Dorian Gray was eventually published as a full novel in 1891. When it was first published in the July issue of the Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, the story offended many British book reviewers because they claim the story violated many morals values forcing Wilde to have to defend his position as an artist and creator.

How The Story Begins

The story tells of a handsome young man who had his portrait painted by an artist Basil Hallward. While sitting still for his portrait, Dorian listens to the ideas of the world as depicted by Lord Henry and decides to himself that beauty is all that matters in the world. At this time, Gray secretly wishes to himself that the painting would age instead of him.

The Discovery

Through the influence of Lord Henry, Dorian explore his sexuality eventually falling in love with the Shakespearean actress, Sibyl, whom he later married. When Sibyl gave up acting as a career, he found that he no longer loved her and so he ended the relationship, returning home to find the image of himself on his portrait had changed while he remained the same. This pleased him as it meant that his dream had come true. Upon this realization, Gray continue exploring every vice and pleasure that life had to offer for the next 18 years, never suffering any consequences for his actions.

How it ends

Eventually people of the town became suspicious of Dorian and he was questioned by his friend, Basil. Dorian showed the gruesomely disfigured portrait to Basil, blaming his fate on the artist and eventually killing him, quietly disposing of the body. Consumed by guilt because of his many cruel deeds, Dorian eventually attempts to destroy the now hideous painting, only to kill himself in the process. When he was found, his servants had to identify him by his jewelry as his appearance had switched places with the image in the painting.

I believe this story attempts to show how beauty is really only skin deep and it is by one’s actions that true beauty is established. No matter how you appear on the outside, there is no escaping the deeds you have done in your life and they will one day, inevitably fall upon you.

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