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James Vane is less a believable character than an embodiment of Dorian's tortured
conscience. As Sibyl's brother, he is a rather flat caricature of the avenging relative. Still,
Wilde saw him as essential to the story, adding his character during his revision of 1891.
Appearing at the dock and later at Dorian's country estate, James has an almost spectral
quality. Like the ghost of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, who warns
Scrooge of the sins he will have to face, James appears with his face "like a white
handkerchief" to goad Dorian into accepting responsibility for the crimes he has committed.
Sibyl's brother, a sailor bound for Australia. James cares deeply for his sister and worries
about her relationship with Dorian. Distrustful of his mother's motives, he believes that Mrs.
Vane's interest in Dorian's wealth disables her from properly protecting Sibyl. As a result,
James is hesitant to leave his sister.
Abnormally, our "Hero" of the novel does not kill the villain; in fact it is the Hero that is shot.
This deviation of the normal structure adds to the tension of the novel. Moreover, James'
death is pointless; merely getting shot by, ironically, those he despised - gentlemen.
Moreover, although he acts as though he despises his mother's melodrama, he himself is
very melodramatic. He says that he will hunt Dorian down like a `dog' should he ever hurt
Sibyl; and that is indeed what he does. Moreover, we get the impression that after his
sister's death he turns to alcohol and his life is destroyed. Therefore, we witness another
pointless death, the cause being Dorian.
Once an intimate friend, Alan Campbell is one of many promising young men who have
severed ties with Dorian because of Dorian's sullied reputation. Alan is another that
attempts to leave Dorian's influence however; he is also drawn to Dorian. Even though
Dorian has destroyed his reputation, he still agrees to see him. Although he attempts to
refuse Dorian's pleas of removing Basil's dead body, Dorian's blackmailing draws through.
Alan is so horrified by what he has done that he takes his own life. This is another character
that Dorian destroys without thought or regret. Even at the end of the novel, he denies
responsibility and thus, he had to be punished.
Lord Fermor is Henry's irascible uncle. Lord Fermor tells Henry the story of Dorian's
parentage. Moreover, he is very similar to Henry, being described as knowing everyone. So
much so that he declares he was at Dorian's mother's christening; and also seemed to know
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Dorian's story as though it were yesterday. This is what the reader would imagine Henry to
be like in his old age.
Victor is Dorian's servant. Although Victor is a trustworthy servant, Dorian becomes
suspicious of him and sends him out on needless errands to ensure that he does not
attempt to steal a glance at Dorian's portrait.…read more