This book follows Dorian Gray, a dashing young man who is learning the ropes and social ambiguities of London and England in general. The story follows Dorian over roughly twenty years showing his development and change with great detail and witt.
I will describe the characters in a very vague sense because I feel that everyone regardless of their opinions should read this book and see it beauty and its message. The characters are very well written and have many layers to them, Dorian begins as a beautiful man who is a painter’s muse; this perfection and vanity soon go to his head and corrupt the dazzling spirit that he had. Dorian’s friend Lord Henry has gone into great detail through the book to teach Dorian the likes of being a civilized man in the 19th century, and the finer points and theories of life. In the end the characters are bold and extravagant with a hint of philosophical tones laced throughout, this is the reason that the characters fascinated me.
- The theme of Vanity and its corruption.
- Humans are creatures of need and desire to be admired.
- The breaking point of man.
“’Years ago, when I was a boy,’ said Dorian Gray, crushing the flower in his hand, ’you met me, flattered me, and taught me to be vain of my good looks. One day you introduced me to a friend of yours, who explained to me the wonder of youth, and you finished the portrait of me that revealed to me the wonder of beauty. In a mad moment that, even now, I don’t know whether I regret or not, I made a wish, perhaps you would call it a prayer…’”(Wilde,71%)
This is quite a simple quote that Dorian is saying, he is saying that Basil (the Painter) had introduced him to the corrupt notions of beauty, which started Gray’s downward spiral into the pits of sins and disgust. Dorian made one prayer that the picture would take on the age and the sins he has done and not himself, keeping himself youthful and divine. The moral of this passage and section of the novel is in part to be careful what you wish for, and to lay everything on the line if you’re going to do something, do it wholeheartedly.
This is the one book that I have read for English that I have actually thoroughly enjoyed aside from 1984, however this book has something in it for everyone. The range of topics include forbidden love, morality, crime and intrigue and a touch of macabre story telling.
This is a sure recommend to anyone who wants something to read that is a piece of the cannon!