Themes of Dorian Gray

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“The artist is the creator of beautiful things” and “The artist can express everything”
Page 3 - the Preface explains the purpose of art
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“All art is quite useless”
Page 4 – Wilde’s view on art?
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“What is it? Nothing about politics, I hope? They don’t interest me. There is hardly a single person in the House of Commons worth painting.”
Basil, page 71 – Basil only cares about art.
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“Without your art, you are nothing."
Dorian to Sibyl, page 85 – IMPORTANT, Dorian only loved her art.
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“And, indeed, the whole book seemed to him to contain the story of his own life, written before he had lived it”
Dorian’s life is the yellow book, page 123 – Life imitating art, gives Dorian ideas and foreshadows them.
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“To him Life itself was the first, the greatest, of the arts.”
Dorian, page 125 – Life = art.
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“Those finely-shaped fingers could never have clutched a knife for sin"
referring to Dorian and the picture, page 167 – shows that the picture/art is his soul, so people can’t tell when he sins.
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“During the last ten years his painting had gone off very much” and “ It had lost an ideal…he ceased to be a great artist”
Henry describing Basil’s paintings, page 204 – shows that Dorian was Basil’s influence in his painting. Dorian was Basil’s art.
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“Life has been your art”
Lord Henry, page 207 – Life = art.
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“It was living death of his own soul that troubled him. It was the portrait that had done everything.”
Dorian about the painting, page 210 – blames art and Basil for his influence.
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"Because you have the most marvelous youth, and youth is the one thing worth having”
Lord Henry to Dorian, page 24 – Youth and beauty are the only things that matter, gives Dorian the idea of Faustian bargain.
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"The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation. He had never felt it before”
Dorian, page 27 – Narcissus, falls in love with himself, Dorian falls in love with painting.
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"Harry! Sibyl Vane is sacred!” and “There is something of a child in her”
Dorian, page 52 and 53 – still young, chastity, she is a romantic ideal.
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"The secret of remaining young is never to have an emotion that is unbecoming”
Lord Henry, page 83 – IMPORTANT, shows how Dorian remains young by having no emotions.
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"He had uttered a mad wish that he himself might remain you and the portrait grow old; that his own beauty might be untarnished.”
About Dorian, page 88 – Youth is everything, mad wish shows regret?
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"There is nothing that you, with your extraordinary looks, will not be able to do.”
Lord Henry to Dorian, page 101 – beauty gets you things in life, is true as he gets away with murder.
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“Why should he watch the hideous corruption of his soul? He kept his youth – that was enough”
Dorian, page 118 – growing old is hideous.
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"All the bloom of boyhood, all the unstained purity of youth”
Dorian, page 182 – youth = pure/innocence.
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"Youth! There is nothing like it. It’s absurd to talk of the ignorance of youth!”
Lord Henry, page 206 – Youth is everything.
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"Youth had spoiled him”
Dorian, page 210 – Youth has ruined him, acted as an influence.
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"I don’t suppose that ten per cent of the proletariat live correctly”
Lord Henry, page 12 – views of the upper class judging the lower. “Proletariat” was once “lower orders”.
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"In politics he was a Tory, except when the Tories were in office, during which period he roundly abused them for being a pack of Radicals”
Lord Fermor, page 33 – Wilde mocks the political views of the upper class.
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"It is rather fashionable to marry Americans just now, Uncle George.”
Lord Henry, page 36 – fashionable to marry, views of society.
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"Luxurious arm-chair”, “Persian rugs”, “tiny satinwood table”
Lord Henry’s library, page 45 – Luxurious material, excess, real objects, realism, high class/status, romantic ideal for some.
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"My dear boy, no woman in a genius. Women are a decorative sex”
Lord Henry, page 47 – sexism.
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“A hideous Jew”
Dorian, page 49 – racist, views of upper class, massive migration of Jews at time.
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"However, as I said before, if he is rich…”
Sibyl’s mother, page 60 – only cares about money, lower class.
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"I found myself seated in a horrid little private box, with a vulgar drop-scene.”
Dorian, page 49 – looking down on things, literally and metaphorically, no control over actions – “found myself”, fate? Views of upper class.
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"It would be absurd for him to marry so beneath him”
Basil, page 71 – marriage is not about love, moreover class and money.
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page 125 – fashionable way to dress, both Dorian and Wilde part of it.
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"Some nights he would creep out of the house, go down to dreadful places near Blue Gate Field”
Dorian, page 135 – real place, lower class and full of crime in 19th century. Dorian mixes between the classes.
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"His great wealth was a certain element of security”
Dorian, page 136 – money protects him, greedy society.
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“Had a laboratory, greatly to the annoyance of his mother, who has set her heart on his standing for Parliament.”
Alan Campbell, page 158 – science was looked down upon as religion still predominate.
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"For God’s sake don’t talk to me. What do you want? Money? Here it is. Don’t ever talk to me again”
Dorian, page 180 – views of prostitution.
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“Duchess” “Lord Henry” “Duke” “Lady”
page 185 – upper class, etiquette.
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"Our host is rather horrid this evening”
Gladys, page 187 – woman who has an opinion, new women, feminism, suffragette.
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"Of course married life is merely a habit, a bad habit.”
Lord Henry, page 202 – views of marriage.
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"Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders”
Lord Henry, page 203 – crime = lower class. Dorian mixes between classes.
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"Her clever tongue gets on one’s nerves”
Lord Henry about Gladys, page 208 – views of women.
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"When our eyes met, I felt that I was growing pale” and "Dorian told me so afterwards, He, too, felt that we were destined to know each other”
Basil looking at Dorian, page 9 and page 10– **********, finds Dorian attractive. Evidence that Dorian may be homosexual.
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"Harry! If you only knew what Dorian Gray is to me!”
Basil, page 13 – Dorian is more than just art for Basil.
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"No wonder Basil Hallward worshipped him”
Lord Henry’s thoughts, page 19 – Henry may be homosexual, Dorian was made to be worshipped.
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"I am very much interested in Mr Gray at the present. I have only just met him”
Lord Henry, page 34 – Henry is interested in Dorian, romantically?
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"I thought you must have some curious romance on hand. You have; but it is not quite what I expected”
Lord Henry about Dorian, page 54 – expected a homosexual relationship.
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"Slight pang of jealously"
Henry, page 56 – Henry is jealous of Sibyl.
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"He could not bear this marriage"
Basil, page 78 – Basil loves Dorian.
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“I am off the Paris by the midnight train and I particularly wanted to see you before I left
Basil to Dorian, page 141 – still loves Dorian after all the years.
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"They had been great friends once, five years before – almost inseparable.”
Dorian and Alan Campbell, page 168 – hint of ********** relationship.
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"I am sick of women who love one”
Henry, page 180 – prefer men loving him.
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"I have always been my own master; had at least always been so, till I met Dorian Gray.”
Basil, page 10 – Dorian influences Basil from the start.
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"Don’t spoil him. Don’t try to influence him. Your influence would be bad”
Basil about Henry, page 16 – foreshadows Henry corrupting Dorian.
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"He has a very bad influence over all his friends, with the single exception of myself.”
Basil about Henry, page 20 – Basil knows of his influence.
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"He was dimly conscious that entirely fresh influences were at work within him. Yet they seemed to him to have come really from himself.”
Dorian, page 21 – Henry’s influences Dorian, intrigued him. Psychoanalytical like Kelso, traits inherited.
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"It was so unlike Dorian to speak like that. What had happened? He seemed quite angry”
Basil, page 28 – Henry has changed Dorian already.
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"To a large extent the lad was his creation.”
Henry thoughts about Dorian, page 57.
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"I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.”
Henry, page 77 – gives Dorian courage to do so.
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"Lord Henry had told him that, and Lord Henry knew what women were”
page 89 - Lord Henry's views on women
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"He would not see Lord Henry anymore- would not, at any rate, listen to those poisonous theories”
Dorian, page 89 – prevent Henry’s influence.
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"Basil would have helped him to resist Lord Henry’s influence, and he still more poisonous influences that came from his own temperament.”
Dorian, page 115 – knows of Henry’s influence, picture’s influence is worse. But Dorian doesn’t want to be good, kills super ego.
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"That curiosity about life which Lord Henry had first stirred in him.”
Dorian, page 124 – influence caused him to act like this.
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"You have filled them with a madness for pleasure”
Basil, page 145 – knows Dorian influence.
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"You told me you had destroyed it”, “I was wrong. It has destroyed me”
Picture has also influenced.
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"They have had my own divorce-case, and Alan Campbell’s suicide.”
Henry, page 202 – Dorian influenced Alan’s death, couldn’t live with he done to Basil’s body?
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“Yet you poisoned me with a book once. I should not forgive that." “As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame"
Dorian and Henry, page 208 – influence of the book, shows this book being used against Wilde.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Page 4 – Wilde’s view on art?


“All art is quite useless”

Card 3


Basil, page 71 – Basil only cares about art.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Dorian to Sibyl, page 85 – IMPORTANT, Dorian only loved her art.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


Dorian’s life is the yellow book, page 123 – Life imitating art, gives Dorian ideas and foreshadows them.


Preview of the back of card 5
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