The Picture of Dorian Gray Summary Sample

“The Picture of Dorian Grey” is the only novel by Oscar Wilde. For the first time it embodied the author’s project, which was to show the society of those times, its immorality and an attempt to radically rethink its ethics. The novel describes the Beauty itself, without moral dimensions and values. It is written in the intentionally shocking decadent sexual atmosphere. O. Wilde’s novel possesses an increased measure of artistic convention: the story itself contains magical assumption and the characters sometimes seem not quite lifelike.

This is the kind of combination of novel with the elements of fairy tale, psychological thriller and drama. All central characters of the novel are the expression of different perspectives of the extraordinary personality of their creator. Basil Hallward embodies the problem of the art in the novel: the theme of the artist and the art itself, the image of the creative act. Though Oscar Wilde himself mentioned that ‘All art is quite useless’. (Wilde, 5) Dorian Grey is a typical British dandy, who wants to be young forever. He is not sincere with his friends, his love to a young actress Sibyl takes her gift to play for what Dorian despises her, he lives only for his pleasures, which he really enjoys, but the end of his life is very tragic. Such behavior kills the main hero.

The final scene of the novel reveals the real nature of Mr. Gray. It is a confession to himself – Dorian cannot live such life any longer and he decides to stab the portrait with a knife and dies being old and dreadful. The portrait, in turn, remains nice and beautiful. The real purpose of the book is to show that appearance is not always the most important thing. The inner beauty, virginity of the soul is what really matters. People have to pay more attention to who they are but not to how others see them and how to make your look more attractive.

References

Arnold, Matthew. “Culture and Anarchy.” The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ed. Andrew Elfenbein. NY: Pearson Longman, 2007.
Pearce, Joseph. The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde. NY: Ignatius Press, 2004.
Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ed. Andrew Elfenbein. NY: Pearson Longman, 2007.

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