Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde (1856 - 1900) Essays

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1856 - 1900) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1856 - 1900) Type of Work: Fantasy novel Setting London, England; late nineteenth century Principal Characters Dorian Gray, an extremely handsome young man Basil Hallward, Dorian's older friend, a portrait artist Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian's vile tempter Sibyl Vane, Dorian's actress-lover James Vane, Sibyl's brother Story Overveiw As Basil Hallward artfully put the finishing touches on his full-length portrait of an extraordiiiarily beautiful young man, Lord Henr Wotton paid him a call. Lord Henry mucn admired the painting and desired to meet the subject. The artist objected, knowing the poisonous influence of which Lord Henry was capable; young Dorian Gray was his ideal of purity and had inspired Basil to the most expressive art of his life. Just then, in walked Dorian Gray. Against Hallward's wishes, the two met, and Dorian was immediately taken by Lord Henry's fascinating words, presence and wittiness. Henry flattered Dorian with his comments on the virtues of beauty, the charms of youth, and expressed his sadness at the thought that such youth should fade into the ugliness of age. This caused Dorian to plummet into melancholy. Seeing his portrait for the first time, Dorian gasped at his own beauty. He lamented that the picture would mock him his entire life; age would indeed steal his color and grace: "I know, now, that when one loses one's good looks, whatever they may be, one loses everything ... Lord Henry Wotton is perfectly right. Youth is the only thing worth having. When I find that I am growing old, I shall kill myself." Then he wished instead that the picture might grow old while he remained forever young: "I would give everything. I would give my soul for that!" Alarmed by these passions in the young man, Hallward attempted to destroy the painting, but Dorian stopped him and had it taken home that very evening. After that first meeting, Dorian and Lord Henry became fast friends and frequent partners at local theatres. Henry presented Dorian with a gift - a book about a young man's passions, sins and vileness. Dorian became captivated by its plot. For years he leafed through its pages - anct the book became an entrenched, tragic guide in the life of Dorian Gray. Dorian met and fell madly in love with Sibyl Vane, a beautiful and talented actress who was portraying Juliet in a cheap theatrical troupe. But the night Dorian invited Lord fienry and Basil Hallward to meet his new love, her performance was lifeless. She was hissed and booed by even the uneducated audience. Afterward, she joyfully explained to the disappointed Dorian that her love for her "Prince Charming," - as she knew him - had transformed her from a mere actress into a real woman. Dorian coldly shunned her, admitting that his love for her had been killed, and vowed that he would see her no more. On returning home, he was surprised to notice that the face in his painting had changed. A touch of cruelty now lined the mouth. His wish that the painting might be seared with suffering and guilt while his own face was left untarnished, had been granted! But now he pitied the portrait and resolved to live a pure life. He would return to Sibyl and marry her. He would see no more of the selfish Lord Henry. Dorian wrote Sibyl a passionate letter and fell asleep, confident that he would make amends to Sybil the following day. However, that next morning Lord Henry brought bad news: in grief, Sibyl had killed herself during the night. Lord Henry charmed the devastated youth, urging him to imagine the tragedy as a drama, with Juliet or Ophelia the victims, not the flesh-and-blood Sibyl. No, she will never come to life. She has played her last part ... To you at least she was always a dream, a phantom that flitted through Shakespeare's plays ... But don't waste your tears over Sibyl Vatic. She was less real than they are. Now Dorian forgot his good resolutions. If fate would deal unjustly with him, he, in turn, determined to give himself up to a life of pleasure and let the portrait bear the burden of his corrupting soul. Eternal youth, wild joys, infinite passion would be his. Horrified at Dorian's lack of remorse and feeling, Basil Hallward tried to reason with him. But Dorian was unmoved. He continued to guard the secret of the portrait from Basil, first covering it a with a sheet, and later moving it to an upstairs room, unopened since his grandfather had died mere five

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