The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
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Date Added: 2003-07-16
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Read it once, but only once
The most disappointing part of this book is that it read more like a non-fiction philosophy book than a story or novel. I would say 70% of the pages were portrayed as thoughts of a character or a speech of a character contemplating life, women, how we are suppose to live, etc.
The actual story was hidden throughout the book, but you have to drone on through many pages to find it. The story itself is highly predictable and yet still has many missing parts to it. Many years of Dorian Gray’s life is missing where it is hinted to that he commits the most awful sins. I think reading of those sinful actions was to be more entertaining than the rabbit trails that Wilde goes on.
Despite these facts, I am glad that I read the book once. It held my attention enough and was brilliant enough that I did learn something from the book, which is a great accomplishment in itself, to teach a reader a few principals that may slightly help or change on any small level, the readers actions. So I do recommend this book if you have no more pressing serious books on your reading list.
On a side note, I do disagree with all the reviews I have seen on this book where the reader says that they can not relate to Dorian Gray’s sins and that his sins are outdated. His chief sins in the book are (SMALL SPOILER ALERT) murder, drug use, pride, treating others harshly and without respect, using women in many ways, etc. are all sins practiced today even if they are not practiced exactly the way they are in the book. If you can relate to none of those sins in any way, then you are a better person than I, or suffer from foolish pride which is the chief sin in the book.
This book changed me
I read this book for the first time when I was 13 y/o and it forever changed the way I saw life. There were so many thoughts and ideas that I never allowed myself to say out loud because they were not "appropriate" and Oscar Wilde, with his outspoken genius, made me realize that being, thinking and feeling differently was all right, because not everybody can love everybody. I have always cherished this book because it finally allowed me to not conform to what was expected from me, but to be different, and to thrive on that.
By Nicole Rodriguez on May 4, 2006
This book brings extreme self discoverment and a dark realism on true being. Every chapter brings you to acknowledge the pain and truth in a persons vain. Inner beauty is proven to be more important then physical features. It is an incredible piece of literature and I think everyone should read it.
By Ellen Hayes on April 15, 2005
Wilde is at his best in this tale of sin and redemption. He is able to provide all the nuance of the on-looker with an insider's point of view-albeit unusual, this is the art of Wilde.
By M on November 23, 2004
"The Picture of Dorian Gray", by Oscar Wilde, is a book of love, pleasure, and above all else.. insanity.This story takes place in London in the 1800's. It deals mostly with the upper classes. In this report I intend to tell of the selling of Dorian's soul, the consequences for his choice, and his eventual untimely demise. The main character of the story is Dorian Gray; but naturally, there are other characters involved as well. Characters such as Lord Henry Wotton, Basil Hallward, Han Campbell, Sybil Vane, and her brother, James Vane.
One day Basil Hallward, an artist of extreme calibar, paints the most beautiful portrait of Dorian Gray. A painting that far surpasses those he had ever painted before. Upon seeing the portrait's great beauty, Dorian rashly exclaims that if he could have eternal beauty like the portrait, he would give his very soul. The picture is then transformed into Dorians conscience, the physical affects of sin are manifested onto the portrait instead of Dorians very own life.
Since the portrait now contains Dorians soul, the true Dorian has no knowledge of the evil that lies in sin. The effect of this, of course, is that he indulges in sin secretly, yet freely. His lack of conscience and knowledge of right and wrong ends up destroying his relationships with those whom he holds most dear. Sybil Vane, the woman he was about to marry, commits suicide after Dorian speaks to her harshly without remorse. It is at this point that the portrait starts to alter because of the corruption of soul. After numerous other sins involving opium and concubines, Dorian ends up showing Basil Hallward the corrupted picture. Basil, in shock, just sits there shaking his head. Dorian suddenly feels this immense rage and hatred for Basil. In his rage he picks up a knife and stabs Basil numerous times in the back of the head.
The following day, Dorian sends word to an ex-friend that is a reknown chemist (and one in which he has blackmail information against). After a verbal struggle; his ex-friend (Calan Campbell) agrees to dispose of the body by melting it with chemicals. In 5 hours, the deed was done. Mr. Campbell, overwrought with remorse, soon after shot himself in his laboratory. James Vane, wanting vegence for his sisters suicide, sought to murder Dorian at a hunting party. His plan failed. Instead of killing Dorian, he ended up lying in a ditch with a shotgun cartridge in his chest. Once Dorian found out about James death, he was relieved for he felt he was finally safe.
Dorian then decided to go on a great reformation to change his life for the better and to try and make his picture/soul clean once more. After doing what he considered one good act, Dorian decided to look at the picture to see if it had altered for the better. To his horror the picture was now more hideous than ever! Dorian, in a fit of panic, grabbed the knife he had used to kill Basil and now drove it into the picture trying to destroy the hideous image. Apparently, Dorain forgot that his soul dwelled within the painting, and let out a great scream when he struck it with the weapon. His servants came running in to find a wrinkled, hideous old man lying on the floor with a knife in his heart. On the wall was the original picture of Dorian Gray as beautiful as it was when painted.
I enjoyed this book tremendously and will read it several more times before I die. I would recommend this book to only those with strong vocabularies who enjoy lengthy and extrememly complex sentences. One might consider this book a story to ponder on the meaning of life and the far reaching consequences of sin. Oscar Wilde did a wonderful job depicting the ugliness of sin. This story made me very thankful that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save me from that ugliness. Praise be to God!