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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde first published in 1890.


Dorian Gray is a very handsome younger man living in England. His artist friend, Basil Hallward, is obsessed with his beauty and paints a perfect portrait of him. Dorian sees the finished painting and wishes that the picture would grow old and ugly instead of him - so he would stay just as the picture looks and the picture would look like him. Lord Henry, another friend of Basil, talks to him about Dorian, and influences Dorian to do many of the things he will.

Dorian falls in love with the acting of an actress, Sibyl Vane. She loves him back, but being in love makes her act badly. He rejects her, and she commits suicide. After this, Dorian notices that his painting has a sneer on it, so he locks it in an unused room. Over eighteen years, Dorian becomes more and more evil, but looks the same as always, while his painting has become ugly and distorted. Dorian eventually kills Basil for discovering his secret.

Dorian feels guilty over this, and goes to an opium parlor to lose himself. There, he sees Sibyl's brother, who tries to kill him, but he escapes. Later, the brother is accidentally killed by some hunters. Dorian decides to make up for the past life and become a new man, but with the help of his painting, he realizes he is just a hypocrite. He stabs the painting. His maids hear a crash, and goes to see what happened. The painting is just like it was when it was painted, and Dorian is lying stabbed on the floor, looking like an old, ugly man.

Dorian is later reincarnated in "Dorian" by Will Self.
The book is parodied in Stanley Hichen's The Green Carnation (1894)