The Picture of Dorian Gray – Analysis
This famous portrait is the only novel written by the author Oscar Wilde, who otherwise wrote poetry, plays and short stories. It first published in 1890, but since Wilde’s work became much criticized for its homoerotic parts and its lack of moral message, he had to moderate the language of several passes before publishing a new version the following year. This revised publication is considered as the authoritative edition. The setting and the plot The picture of Dorian Gray takes place in the late 19th century England. Dorian Gray is a young aesthete living in London.
The painter Basil is working with finishing his portrait of Dorian. When Dorian sees the portrait, the fact that he isn’t going to remain young forever uppenbarar sig for him. He gets oforstaeligt upprord and wishes intensely that the painting would age instead of him. What he does not know by then is that his wish will come true. The mood In the first part of the book the mood is quite realistic and romantic. Dorian, the main character, is young, inexperienced and when he falls in love the whole atmosphere of the book gets affected of it.
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The language in those parts is rather poetic, but also correct and realistic. Later on, the story develops to become more mysterious. Supernatural things start to happen, and the book suddenly resembles more a gothic horror novel than a decadent French fiction. Point of view The story is told form a third-person point of view. Since much of the plot is told by the words of the characters, dialogue is a central part of the story-telling in the book. The plot unfolds chronologically. Language and symbols The theme and its context The characters
The main character, Dorian Gray, is described as astonishingly beautiful. You get the impression of him as selfish and ytlig, but even though he seem to be loved by everybody he meets. In the beginning of the book he is young, curious and a bit naive. In the moment Dorian sees the picture, he understands his own beauty and with that knowledge comes the fear of not lasting beautiful forever. The fact of growing old scares him to death, and he wishes highly that his portrait could age instead of him while he would resist forever young.
You also get the impression that Dorian is sarbar, he is afraid of being liked just for his good looks. In chapter two, where he sees his portrait for the first time, Dorian accuses Basil for appreciating him less than an ivory Hermes. He cries that the day he gets his first wrinkle, he won’t be liked anymore. Sometimes Dorian in totally hansynslos against his omgivning, but he is a rather complex character that is hard to judge because you know that this is based on a feeling of otillracklighet and a fear of not being liked.
At first I found the book ytlig and I disliked that it improved the importance of being beautiful, but then I realized that in fact the message might be the opposite; that you shouldn’t care to much of things like looks or material stuff because then you could end up as broken as Dorian. He once say that he will give his soul for remaining young while his portrait aging instead. Lord Henry is a close friend of Dorian’s. He first gets introduced to Dorian Gray by his friend, the painter Basil Hallward, who has fallen deeply in love with Dorian while doing his portrait. Harry Henry is wealthy and in the age of Dorian.