- Author – Oscar Wilde
- Published – 1890
- Genre – Philosophical Fiction
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a haunting classic novel written by renowned Irish playwright and writer Oscar Wilde. It is only work that was published as a novel and first appeared as a leading story in Lippincott’s Monthly magazine on 20th June 1890. The magazine published a censored version of the story as the editor it was thought that the original manuscript would be too much to handle for the contemporary society, however the author was unknown to this development. The edited version was shorter by more than 500 words however on its publication there was a huge outcry from the society, with some of the reviewers even calling for the prosecution of Oscar Wilde for indecency.
Dorian Gray deals with the human lust for beauty and immortality. Since the beginning of mankind, man has yearned for beauty, which is ageless. The story tells about the darkest desires of the central character, Dorian Gray. He is besotted with his own beauty and wants to stay the same, forever. An artist friend, Basil Hallword paints his picture. Later, while admiring his work, Dorian Gray is joined by another gentleman, Lord Henry Wolton. His views on beauty and other superficial things, hugely impress Dorian. He makes a wish to stay as handsome and beautiful forever and instead his life like picture should age on behalf of him.
Little does he realize that his wish has been granted however it comes with a price. Every time he commits something immoral or anything that hurts a living thing, his picture disfigures. So, in a way, Dorian is able to peep into his inner self and look how ugly he actually is. There is love, betrayal and thirst for revenge, which character skillfully woven into the fabric of the story, to make it even richer. There is the character of Sibyl Vane, an actress, who falls for the charms and beauty of Dorian. Such is her love for him that she entirely forgets her other love, acting. Dorian betrays her and she commits suicide. She is survived by her brother, James Vane who vows to avenge her death by killing Dorian.
The story then takes a leap forward by 18 years, but Dorian hasn’t aged one bit. He continues on his philandering ways, his picture getting uglier with every passing conquest. The author adds new plots, twists and a trail of deaths. However, the way the author has planned the end for his seemingly immortal character, has to be read, in order to savor the true feelings.