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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Oscar Wilde’s only full-length novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was first published in 1890 and is the classic tale of the moral decline of its title character, Dorian Gray. While Dorian has his portrait painted by Basil Hallward he is lectured to by Lord Henry Wotton, who espouses a hedonistic world view. Dorian is drawn to Wotton’s belief that beauty and sensuality are the only things in life worth pursuing and wishes that he would stay young while his portrait changes instead. In the years that follow Dorian pursues a life of vice and debauchery, committing unspeakable acts along the way. With the passage of time, Dorian’s wish comes true, as his age and withering moral character are reflected in his portrait instead of himself. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is arguably one of Wilde’s most popular works, which caused quite a scandal in Victorian England when it was first published, for its glorification of decadency. A chilling tale, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is at once both an intricate character study and a sharp criticism of the improprieties of the Victorian age.

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