I have never read this one before now. I knew the bare bones of the story due to my high school English class having excerpts of the story. I guess I never wanted to read about a murdering guy who was too beautiful to live. Though I found parts of the story compelling, I found myself getting bored here and there. Probably because we would go some chapters and just read about what Dorian was up to. The book was much better when there was dialogue between characters. I also don't even get why Dorian killed Basil besides him just becoming unhinged. And him demanding another former friend help him just seemed stupid. So for most of the book I was waiting for him to get caught. Wilde ends things on an ironic note with how Dorian eventually ends up dying.
"Dorian Gray" has the title character not coming into the story right away. Instead he is a discussion between Basil Hallward (who is a painter) and Lord Henry. Basil has become obsessed with painting someone and goes on about how perfectly beautiful he is. Basil doesn't want Lord Henry to meet Dorian since he foreshadows that somehow Lord Henry will ruin him. So before we even meet Dorian, we have two men battling over his soul. Lord Henry of course wants to meet Dorian since he likes beautiful people as long as they are not boring.
When Dorian comes across Lord Henry he is flattered as his attention and almost instantly wishes to be more like him. While sitting for the painting Dorian wishes that he can stay young and beautiful before and that somehow the painting off him will age instead. Dorian is brought down by listening to Lord Henry and his long butt dialogues about what really matters in this world is enjoying everything though it may be wrong.
We fast forward a bit to Dorian being happy and telling Basil and Lord Henry that he met the woman he is going to marry. The woman is named Sibyl and she's an actress. It seemed at first that maybe Dorian could be good and lose Lord Henry's influence, but unfortunately things get really bad when Dorian takes his friends to see Sibyl and her acting as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet is awful. I mean you want to throw pies at her awful. Due to Dorian hating imperfect things he is quite ready to throw Sibyl away. Dorian doesn't feel bad about the way he has treated her until he comes upon the painting and sees that his mouth has now turned cruel. Wanting to make sure that his soul stays pure, Dorian decides he will stand by and still marry Sibyl, too bad he finds out that she killed herself over his rejection of her. From there the book just follows Dorian as he sets about ruining himself and others over 18 years.
I did find myself getting quite bored at times. And weirdly enough I did agree with Dorian when he rejected Basil when he came to tell him that his reputation was being ruined in London. Dorian called his accusers hypocrites for doing the same things as he was, he was just not hiding it. Also I wonder at these men and women who let themselves be seduced by him. It sees as if only Basil and Lord Henry didn't sit around and do what Dorian wanted.
The book goes into a free fall after Basil is murdered with Dorian getting more scared that he will be found out and then scared that Sibyl's brother who has been hunting him for years will find him and kill him.
In the end, Dorian dies after plunging a knife into the painting that he blames for all of his troubles. He is found by his servants and they are shocked at finding an old man in their master's chambers. Wilde heavily implies that no one will miss Dorian besides his servants.
I’m always baffled at the incorrect page numbers. This is 212 with footnotes.
Not going to lie, very interesting, but not a favorite.
Some parts were slow and Wilde not coming right out to explain the terrible things Dorian was doing was a strange literary choice. I know readers are supposed to just guess, but it just sounded like he was drinking, smoking opium, and having affairs. I guess as long as it was hidden that’s fine. He didn’t do anything too evil until he murdered Basil and then forced someone to help him cover it up.
I didn’t like Lord Henry at all and wondered why Dorian paid any mind to him.
One wonders of this was a cautionary tale or what at times since Wilde depicts mostly everyone around Dorian to be awful in some form or another.