The Picture of Dorian Gray – A Gothic Classic

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Courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Oscar Wilde’s most popular book transforms a gothic classic into a lesson to life.

Emily Hernandez, Staff Writer

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a perfect read that is sure to become one of your favorite classics. This book is really twisted in how it depicts the experiences of a man who is consumed by sin and corruption.

Throughout the book, the author describes the life of these young aesthetes as lavish, believing that art and life were just there for beauty. I believe that we, too, should consider life as beautiful.  Maybe we would appreciate the gifts of life if we appreciated their beauty instead of just their value.

The book starts off by telling the story of a young man whose beauty remains unchanging while his portrait receives the impact and corruption of his body and soul. This is truly a book that makes the reader think of the true meaning of morality and puts into question the importance of knowing the dangers of living a life for beauty alone. 

Dorian Gray is portrayed as an innocent young man who hasn’t been affected by the manipulative ways of society. He is just a young boy sitting in a studio posing for a talented painter, Basil Hallward, where he is introduced to a young aesthete, Lord Henry Wotton, who flatters Dorian’s beauty enough for him to believe it. It’s difficult to think that such an innocent being would be quickly swayed by sweet words like that, to the point of praying for his own unchanging beauty.

As the friendship between Henry and Dorian grows, Henry teaches Dorian to believe in how the search for beauty is the real and only meaning of life. Henry lives as a spectator of life, he views the world as a giant stage where young Dorian is the main character, and himself the sole audience, enjoying Dorian’s sins and mistakes. Meanwhile, Dorian fully commits to Henry’s beliefs and starts viewing the world in the same cynical way as his new dear friend.

As a result of this, Dorian falls in love with Sybil Vane, a young actress who knows nothing more than the stage and believes herself to be the actual  Juliet one day and an authentic Cordelia the other (both characters created by William Shakespeare). Upon finding love, Sybil finds out what real passion is all about, making her unable to act it out. Seeing how his beloved cannot act, Dorian instantly forgets his love for Sybil, causing Sybil to end her life for him.

Every sin committed by Dorian Gray is now gets reflected in his painting. What was once beautiful and special to him, is now the source of his shame which he tries to keep hidden from the world. While reading the book, you slowly realize that The Picture of Dorian Gray is definitely a classic masterpiece that will make you think twice about the true concept of beauty. Throughout this thrilling and heartbreaking story, will never find themselves bored. Oscar Wilde truly had the gift of keeping his readers connected with his writing. If you are interested in reading this book, you can purchase this book on Amazon.