"The Picture of Dorian Gray" (by Oscar Wilde) - brief plot outline - character analysis - critical evaluation

Essay by karinmausal1High School, 11th grade January 2003

download word file, 6 pages 4.7

Downloaded 117 times

The Picture of Dorian Gray

(Oscar Wilde)

Plot Outline

The story is about a handsome and eloquent young man named Dorian Gray. He has a special friendship with the painter Basil Hallward, who, inspired by his extraordinary beauty, makes a portrait of him.

Basil, extremely fond of Dorian, does not want him to get in contact with his friend, Lord Henry Wotton, a sinister aristocrat, who has a certain influence to other people. His cynical outlook on life, his "mental poison" should not come into Dorian's mind. But Against Basil's wishes, the two meet, and Dorian is immediately taken by Lord Henry's fascinating words, presence and wittiness.

Henry, enormously fascinated of his beauty and his innocence, flatters Dorian with his comments on the virtues of beauty, the charms of youth, and expresses his sadness at the thought that such youth should fade into the ugliness of age.

His advice to Dorian is to enjoy his youth and all the pleasure that it offers, with no regrets. Influenced by him, Dorian expresses a fatal wish: "If only it were the other way - that I remain young and the picture has to grow old. I'd give my soul for that!"

Referring to Henry's advice to have only pleasure in mind, Dorian wanders in the half world of London, where he gets to know Sibyl Vane, a young, beautiful actress, who he soon falls in love with. He is fascinated of the way she acts on the scene and soon, the young man intends to marry her.

But through a single bad performance, when Dorian invites Henry and Basil to meet his new love, Dorian is highly disappointed and coldly shuns her, admitting that his love for her had been killed, and vowing that he will never see her...