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BOOK REPORT Matilde Paradiso 5A

The Picture of Dorian Gray



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Brief summary


The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical novel written by Oscar Wilde, and published in 1891.A shorter version of the novel was published in 1890.At the time the book was criticized for his controversial text and due to the considerations of the British book rewievers Wilde was violating the laws guarding public morality.However nowdays is considered one of the best novels ever written in English (Rober McCrum, 2014).


Dorian Gray is an aristocratic handsome young man and due to his beauty his friend Basil Hallward, an artist, decides to make a portrait of him. The picture of Dorian is stunning and it reveals that youth and beauty will soon disappear with time. Basil introduces Dorian to Henry Wotton, who considers youth and beauty more important values than being good. Poisoned by Henry's philosophy, Dorian expresses a wish (without even noticing he has sold his soul to the devil) that he would be forever young while the portrait will absorb the signs of age and the cruelty.

Brief summary

dorian falls in love with sibyl

dorian's portrait is finished

dorian meets lord henry


dorian kills basil

the portrait changes

sibyl vane kills herself

dorian stabs the picture and dies

alan killed himself

james vane was killed

  • "Basil Hallward: he is the artist who makes Dorian's portrait, and he's also a good friend of him. The young man has absorbed his soul and art, he inspires him.
  • Henry Wotton: he is a cynic wealthy man who influeces Dorian with his philosophy.

"He looked on evil simply as a way to realise his conception of the beautiful"

  • Dorian Gray (main character): he is an aristocratic young man, he has golden hair and blue eyes which makes him look pure. He has a fascinating personality and he plays the piano, however he later becomes cruel and his soul corrupted.


  • Sibyl Vane: she is an actress whom Dorian falls in love with. She's lovely and beautifyl but she has a tragic destiny.
  • James Vane: he is Sibyl's brother who wants revenge on Dorian for his sister's death. He has a tragic destiny too.
  • Alan Campbell: he is a clever young man who studied chemistry and an excellent musician. He was very close to Dorian for a while.

The novel is set in London at the end of the 19th century.The setting reflects the Victorian society and the contrast between the wealthy aristocrats and the poverty in London.Dorian himself, hidind his corruption with his beauty and charm, mirrors the Victorian society. The city represents the fear and the danger, and towards the end of the book the corruption seems inescapable.


-Dorian Gray

‘it was the living death of his own soul that disturbed him’

Basil, the painter, whorships physical beauty far too much and dies by the hand of Dorian whose soul is corrupted by vanity.Henry wants to be the spectator of life, while also influenzing Dorian, and in the end he discovers that those who abstain are more wounded than those who don't.
"All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment" -Oscar Wilde
The major themes are: the supremacy of beauty and art, the ephemerality of youth, life itself, the superficial nature of society, the negative consequenses of influence.

themes/moral of the story

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