The Picture of Dorian Gray, Character and Setting Quotes

Quotes of Charcters and Settings



  • Dorian (The Man): “wonderfully handsome ”
  • “finely curved scarlet lips” 
  • “crisp gold hair”; “rebellious curls”; “gilded threads” 
  • “all the candour of youth”; “youth’s passionate purity”; “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27); “rose red youth”; “rose white boyhood” 
  • “such a beautiful voice”; “low, languid voice”
  • “open eyed and wondering”
  • Dorian (The Painting): “Extraordinary personal beauty”, “I am in love with it. It is a part of myself.”, “It has destroyed me.”, “The face of my soul.”, “more fearful than a rotting corpse”, “leering in the sunlight” [post B’s death], “A face without a heart” (D on B, but D on D) “His youth but a mockery.”
  • Henry: “Narcissus”; “Brainless, beautiful creature”
  • Basil: “personality had so strangely stirred me”; “he is absolutely necessary to me”’; “some subtle influence passed from him to me”; “horribly thoughtless”; “take[s] a real delight in giving me pain”
  • Henry: “A Titan or a toy”
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  • Full of “wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.”
  • Introduced: “lying, smoking” on “divan of Persian saddle bags” – opulent pleasure
  • Dorian: “you would sacrifice anyone for the sake of an epigram.”
  • Fin de siècle: “Life is a great disappointment” – ennui
  • St. James’s Gazette: “Blasé puppy.”
  • Serpent: “subtle smile”
  • Changes D from naïve, child-like young man to a cold, sinful Narcissus
  • Basil: "never [says] a moral thing, and never [does] a wrong thing. [His] cynicism is simply a pose"
  • Gillespie: Henry “seems to make no move to gratify his appetites”
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  • “I’ve always been my own master, at least always been so, till I met Dorian Gray.”
  • “I am afraid that I have shown the secret of my soul […] We live in age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography.”
  • Basil on Dorian: “Is all my art to me now”
  • B’s feels moral corrupted due of his aesthetic desire for D. His aesthetic infatuation with D has caused his moral judgment to falter: religious language and imagery: “Pray, Dorian, Pray”, “We are both punished”, "Lead us not into temptation. Forgive us our sins", "I worshipped you too much. I am punished for it,"
  • Faust: ‘Good’ angel
  • Represents the moralizing aspect of Wilde's self
  • B embodies the struggle between morals and beauty: B is devoted to D's beauty (“my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art its self”
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Edenic Garden/Basil's Studio

  • the rich odour of roses”
  • laburnum: “tremulous branches” unable to “bear the burden” of their “flame-like” beauty
  • bees: “shouldering” through “long, unmown grass
  • sibilance: “swiftness”, “sullen”, “shouldering” – languorous, languid, sultry
  • hyperbolic + mellifluous language: paradise, enclave to “the dim roar of London”
  • Genesis 3
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Nightmarish East End of London

  • “streets lamps looked ghastly  in the dripping mist”, 
  • drunks “brawled” and “screamed”, 
  • narrow” and “gloomy” streets, 
  • “fanlike tongues of fire”
  • sea-gull screams”, “fantastic shadows” creating “monstrous marionettes”
  •  Wilde: the moon “hung low in the sky like a yellow skull”
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