Wilde was not a fan of Realism. He believed the essence of “all art is to reveal art and not the artist”.
- a brilliant writer
- a dandy of style and character
- a decadent soul in search of refinement of thought and words
Characters in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
Basil Hallward, the painter, who sacrifices life for art
Dorian Gray, a young man of fascinating beauty
Lord Herny Wotton, the preacher of hedonism, the dandy of his age
Basil Hallward is Oscar, the artist. Basil, just as Oscar, sacrifices everything for art.
Dorian Gray is the personification of Oscar Wilde’s hedonistic instincts. He is interested in beauty and experiments pleasure. He succumbs to the satisfaction of the flesh rather than the soul.
Henry Wotton is Oscar the dandy and the decadent. He professes theories but fails to practice them.
Dorian Gray is the glue that holds the other two together.
However, it’s the same Dorian that brings them apart.
To Henry, Dorian is an experiment. To Basil, Dorian is a muse.
One gives him free hand to explore, to uncover the unknown, and not deal with the reality of the consequences.
The other wants to keep Dorian all to himself. Without him, his art could never be the same.
It’s easy to foresee who will end up as Dorian’s “teacher”. As “The One Sentence Persuasion Course” teaches us: people will do anything for other people, who support their dreams”.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is breathtaking.
It lures you in. It lets you take a peek. He rushes you in the action. It slows down. When you think you have it figured out, the twist of things takes you by surprise.
Basil is Dorian’s only influence until Lord Henry comes into the picture. However, the painter is too predictable in his manner. He cannot appeal long to the interest of youth and curiosity.
Just as Ralph from “Lord of the flies”, he hangs on to the past.
Lord Henry pushes Dorian to experiment with the same things he is either too old or too afraid to try himself.
Dorian starts on the journey of discovery, which turns out to be fatal.
He is set free in a world of pleasure he is not familiar with.
Dorian experiments life as he sees fit, just as “The Fisherman’s Soul”.
He knows no boundaries. He abides by no rules.
And yet, he is so unprepared to deal with life.
What “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is about?
Three destinies tied together by a painting.
Three failed destinies.
Three shattered lives.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is beautifully written.
Flawless in words and manner, at a proper pace, that takes your breath away. It’s as decadent a novel as Oscar Wilde himself was.
The beginning professes the ending.
In the meantime, we enjoy the conversations and laugh at their jokes.
We live through the characters and experiment with the forbidden.
We see what we choose to see until the ending is staring us in the face.