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The Picture of Dorian Gray Summary

5 min read ⌚ 

The Picture of Dorian Gray PDFWhat if you could stay forever young? What would you have to give in return?

Would you want to, even if the price you will have to pay is your soul?

Who Should Read “The Picture of Dorian Gray”? And Why?

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a story about a young man who wants to stay eternally young and beautiful, and pledges his soul to the Devil, if he is granted his wish.

We recommend it to everyone!

There are important lessons to be learned, out of which all of us can benefit.

Oscar Wilde Biography

Oscar WildeOscar Wilde was an Irish novelist, playwright, and poet, that was one of the most famous and appreciated writers in the 1890s.


Basil Hallward is an established artist living in London in the house of his aunt.

Basil Hallward has been introduced to Dorian Gray when the story opens. Dorian has a godlike appearance, as well as cultured manners and enough wealth. So, it is not surprising that he would immediately become an object of artistic admiration and attraction.

Basil asks Dorian to pose for him, and so he does. While he paints him, he explains his features as a mythological figure or a Greek hero.

The first portrait is nearly finished in the first pages of the novel. However, Basil is not satisfied with his work, and when he talks to his friend, Lord Henry, we realize that he believes that the painting is a mirror of his feelings for the subject, and he doesn’t want that.

Lord Henry does not agree. He is a person who celebrates beauty, youth, and pleasures of any kind.

Soon, Dorian arrives in Basil’s studio and makes the acquaintance of Lord Henry. However, Lord Henry makes a lasting impression on him. He talks to him about beauty and youth, and Dorian feels the fear of losing both of these transient characteristics creeping on him.

Spurred by these thoughts he curses his portrait, thinking that one day when he is old, and his beauty is lost, he will feel only sorrow when looking at it. With mixed emotions in his heart and mind, he offers his soul if he could only get the gift of staying forever young.

Lord Henry wants to own the portrait, but Basil wants to give it to Dorian since he is the rightful owner.

As the weeks pass by, Lord Henry meets Dorian frequently, and the influence of his opinions take over Dorian’s life. So, Dorian wishes to live a life that centers around achieving pleasures in any form.

He soon falls in love with a young actress, Sibyl Vane. Sybil Vane plays in the city’s slums, but Dorian just adores her acting.

She, in turn, believes he is a “Prince Charming.” Her brother does not agree and thinks that Dorian is up to no good, and is unfit for her, but she refuses to listen to him or his warnings.

Sibyl falls in love with Dorian so deeply that she now believes that she can no longer act to be in love on the scene since nothing is as sincere as the real thing.

However, Dorian is in fact in love with Sibyl’s acting and not with her actual personality, so when she states that she gives up the theater, he breaks up with her.

As soon as he does that, he returns home, and to his surprise, he notices that his portrait has a changed expression: now the face on the picture sneers.

He suddenly feels fear and remembers his vow to give his soul in return for eternal youth, and realizes that it might become true, so not wanting all his sins to be left as a mark on the portrait, he decides to apologize and reconcile with Sibyl the next day.

But, he is too late.

Sibyl has already killed herself.

Lord Henry urges Dorian not to feel bad, but instead consider her death as some kind of a triumph, an artistic one, in which she, an actress, decided to do her final act of a tragedy, to personify it.

Although Dorian decides to leave the matter in the past, he still feels uneasy with the portrait, so he hides it in a secluded room in his house, where it would be away from anyone’s sight.

Then, he gets a book about the Frenchmen living in the nineteenth century from Lord Henry, and he immerses himself into it completely, as it is a book that talks about sin and corruption.

He begins to mirror the life of which he reads, and just cares for possibilities to gather new experiences, without any regard for the morality and ethics of his behavior.

Eighteen years later, Dorian is still living a life of pleasures, and all around town rumors begin to spread about his scandalous actions.

However, no matter what they think or talk behind his back, he is accepted everywhere because of his beauty.

The portrait, on the other hand, grows increasingly ugly.

Then, one day, Basil decides to confront Dorian about all the talk he has heard about him, so he arrives in his house.

They quarrel, and in a fit of rage, Dorian takes Basil up in the room for him to see the portrait, and therefore his soul.

Basin is horrified by the sight.

However, Dorian considers himself as a man who has already gone too far, so there is not a point to go back now.

Provoked and irritated by Basil’s pleas to repent, he kills him.

The Picture of Dorian Gray Epilogue

To get rid of the dead body, Dorian blackmails a doctor to blackmail him. Then, he goes to a place to get opium, where he encounters Sibyl’s brother, who tries to avenge her.

Afraid, he escapes to his country house, where he also invites some guests. While he is entertaining them, he sees that Sibyl’s brother has followed him.

But, soon, he is accidentally killed by a hunting party, so Dorian is relieved. All of these events make him want to start over, but he cannot make himself confess his crimes.

He goes to the picture, that shows his dark life, and tries to stab it.

When the maids enter, they find an old, ugly man lying on the floor stabbed in the heart, next to the portrait of a good-looking young man.

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“The Picture of Dorian Gray PDF Quotes”

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. Click To Tweet Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes. Click To Tweet You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit. Click To Tweet To define is to limit. Click To Tweet I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

What an enjoyment it is to read Wilde!

This book is truly a masterpiece. First it is written so beautifully, second, the story is captivating, and third, it offers a valuable moral lesson.

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