The Picture of Dorian Gray - Dorian Gray

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Dorian's Story
Dorian Gray is a young, handsome man whom Basil Hallward, the
painter, is completely infatuated with. So much so he cannot contain himself;
painting Dorian's portrait with such love that he states `I have put too much of
myself into it'. This infatuation leads to Basil's witty friend Lord Henry Wotton
to become interested in meeting him, and seeing what made Dorian so
special. As Basil expected, when the two meet Dorian is immediately placed
under Lord Henry's spell, following his mantras to the word. Henry emphasises the importance of
youth to Dorian, claiming it is not a gift, but something that one must fight for; as it lasts but `a
season'. When the portrait is finished, Dorian's childish personality is let loose. He is compared with
Narcissus, infatuated with his own image and jealous about the fact that it will never age, yet he will.
This envy causes him to `almost pray' that the portrait would grow old instead of him; he would `give
[his] soul for that'. Dorian then follows Henry around like a puppy, idolising him until the point in which
he meets Sibyl Vane. His love for her stemming from her ability to change characters: `Tonight she is
Imogen... and tomorrow she shall be Juliet'. However, when Dorian shows his two friends Sibyl's
acting he is horrified. Her acting ability apparently destroyed by `love', Dorian decides to cruelly
leave her: `how mad I was to love you'. Once at his flat, he sees how his portrait has grown crueller,
bringing in the theme of the supernatural. Dorian decides that he will make amends and never see
Henry again. However, Dorian's rejection leaves Sibyl broken, and leads her to commit suicide. Due
to her lack of knowledge of his name, he was not brought forward for inquiry; Henry arrives at
Dorian's flat to share this news. From then on Dorian commits himself to hedonism, enjoying life to
the full and leaving the painting to bear the burden of his sins. That is, until Basil asks to display the
painting in the Grosvenor. Dorian flatly refuses, making Basil promise he will never look at the
painting and due to Basil's love of Dorian, he agrees. However, Dorian thinks back on this and regrets
not telling Basil. In the meantime, Henry sends Dorian the `yellow book' that so fascinated him at
`sixteen'. Dorian becomes fascinated by the self-indulgence portrayed by the character, and relates
himself to it. Basil then spots him on the street and says that only `God' can see one's soul. Dorian, in
a turn of events, decides to show Basil the portrait. Basil is so horrified that he attempts to pray as he
said: `I worshipped you too much, I am punished. You worshiped you too much, we are both
punished'. Dorian, overcome with frustration and anger at the creator of the `leering' portrait, then
stabs Basil with a knife. He calls upon his friend Alan Campbell to get rid of the body, threatening to
send a letter to his family, probably containing reputation ruining content, if he didn't. Alan does so,
and then commits suicide also. Dorian begins to see the error of his ways, and after seeing Henry
one last time he is too sickened by his sins, and the portrait, that he uses the same knife that killed
Basil to stab the painting; thus killing himself.
The Roles of Dorian Gray
Dorian Gray is portrayed as the easily manipulated child of the novel; he takes other's
affections to boost his own ego. Throughout the novel we see his transition from young ignorant
`Adonis' to a second Lord Henry. In fact, by the end of the novel he surpasses Lord Henry's witty
personality, growing it into a cruel, heartless man ­ much like his grandfather Kelso. It is at this point

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Dorian can no longer stand the `cruel' smirk of the portrait and stabs it; just as he
stabbed Basil.
Just after Dorian has made his fatal wish, Basil tells him `as soon as you are dry, you shall be
varnished, and framed, and sent home. Then you can do what you like with yourself'. This joke
contains a painful truth that Dorian does do what he wants; embracing a new hedonist life style.…read more


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