July 25, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Title : The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde : Author
Reading Dates : 18 Jul - 20 Jul 2010
The Picture of Dorian Gray
From goodreads :
Spellbound before his own portrait, Dorian Gray utters a fateful wish. In exchange for eternal youth he gives his soul, to be corrupted by the malign influence of his mentor, the aesthete and hedonist Lord Henry Wotton. The novel was met with moral outrage by contemporary critics who, dazzled perhaps by Wilde's brilliant style, may have confused the author with his creation, Lord Henry, to whom even Dorian protests, 'You cut life to pieces with your epigrams.'. Encouraged by Lord Henry to substitute pleasure for goodness and art for reality, Dorian tries to watch impassively as he brings misery and death to those who love him. But the picture is watching him, and, made hideous by the marks of sin, it confronts Dorian with the reflection of his fall from grace, the silent bearer of what is in effect a devastating moral judgement.

Book Review of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
This will be the second time I have read The Picture of Dorian Gray. The first time I read it, I disliked it immensely and so it was with a certain trepidation that I picked it up again. I won't say I like the story now, but I don't dislike it either. What I am is fascinated.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story that is beautifully written from start to finish. The author has a way with words which is utterly amazing, drawing vivid images of events or actions with his words. The teaser I picked from the book earlier is such an example. But it can be frustrating and confusing also. I frequently I had to re-read the same sentences over and over again trying to make sense of what was being conveyed. And whenever it turned out that these pages of descriptive text could be condensed into a few sentences, it robs some of my pleasure from reading it. There was one part in particular where several pages are dedicated to detailing his excesses which still leaves me puzzled  as to the significance. The knowledge of it was necessary to understand Dorian Gray but was it necessary to spend a few pages on it. Near the end, I even found myself skipping paragraphs or pages to get to the next part of the story.

Even so, I believe that The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story that everyone has to read at least once. Dorian's fall and how society reacts to his vices is food for thought. How great a part was Lord Henry Wotton's role in Dorian Gray's change? Was he really corrupted by Lord Henry or did his friend merely help in revealing his true nature ? Could he have at any time saved his own soul ? At which point, did he become irredeemable? Was his repentance at the end false or did he believe it false because of his friend's influence ? Why did he place the blame of the corruption of his soul on the painter of the portrait and not on the poisoner of his soul? Up until the end, I still couldn't resolve any of these questions to my own satisfaction.

My conclusion : Belongs on the list of books everyone must read at least once in their lifetime.

Dorian Gray (2009) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ]The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray


  1. I know exactly which two pages you are talking about. I felt the same way.
    Great questions. It think that is why the book is fascinating.

  2. I read this book a long time ago and I still recall much of it-I loved the many epigrams in the book and agree it should be on everyones life time list-

  3. There are definitely a lot of unresolved questions on the book but I absolutely loved it. One of my favourite classics. There is something about it that just draws me to the story


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