The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story known and loved by many. Dorian is introduced as being young, rich and beautiful, but too naïve for his own good when we first meet him in Basil Hallward’s studio. Basil is painting Dorian a portrait, and it will be his best work yet. In that very studio, Dorian also meets Lord Henry, a fascinating man with gripping theories about life, pleasure and beauty. When Basil finally reveals his masterpiece to its sitter, Dorian can’t help but feel jealous of the portrait, knowing the man in the frame will always remain beautiful and young, while Dorian himself will grow old, wrinkled and hideous. He blurts out that he’d give anything for things to be the other way around, he’d even give his soul for that! But then, when tragedy strikes and only the painting seems to reveal the change, Dorian panics. He orders the painting to be moved to a secret and unused chamber, ensuring that no one can get in but him. Dorian Gray is finally ready to live life to the fullest, just like Henry told him. Or is he?
This review contains spoilers, so be aware!
I don’t read a lot of classics, I have to admit. So I was a bit hesitant when I had to pick up this book for my English classes. But oh boy, I was in for a very pleasant surprise! I ended up loving the story of Dorian Gray and often found myself mesmerized by the numerous fascinating quotes this book holds. Because that’s really what this book revolves around: Dorian is being drawn to Lord Henry and his intriguing theories. But Wilde’s power really lies within those theories, because you’ll find yourself as well compelled by Henry’s vague but beautiful and somewhat logical statements, just like Dorian. I really had to snap myself out of it from time to time, because I was slowly beginning to annotate and highlight every line!
As for the characters, I grew very fond of Dorian, and couldn’t help but root for him, even when he started butchering people, haha. There was something about him that made me relate to him – which is slightly concerning, I am well aware – resulting in this pressing need for him to realize what is going on, and act on it. Basil Hallward and even Lord Henry also fought their way into my heart. The rest of the characters were all beautifully written, but too quickly in and out of the picture again for me to actually care about them.
The ending was very satisfying to me. The pace of the story was pleasant (except for chapter 11, but in all honesty, I merely scanned that chapter) and the writing (as stated earlier) positively captivating. Definitely a new favourite of mine!
I’d definitely recommend reading The Picture of Dorian Gray if you are looking for an accessible, captivating and beautifully written classic. From the characters to the general concept of the story: I am a big fan! Get ready for a lot of amazing quotes, compelling theories and humour.
|Product information: There’s an astonishing amount of publishers who publisher The Picture of Dorian Gray, but to clarify: this is the one from Penguin Books.|
|Written by: Oscar Wilde|
|Publisher: Penguin Classics|
|Interested? Buy the book here|