"The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a philosophical and decadent novel penned by Oscar Wilde. Published in 1890, the story unfolds in the vibrant and morally rigid society of Victorian England.
The narrative centers around the young and captivating Dorian Gray, whose portrait is painted by the artist Basil Hallward. Influenced by his witty and cynical friend, Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian becomes enthralled by the idea of eternal youth and beauty. In a moment of introspection, he wishes that his portrait would age instead of him, allowing him to indulge in a life of hedonism and excess without facing the consequences on his own person.
As Dorian delves into a life of debauchery and moral decay, his portrait becomes a visual representation of his inner corruption. The novel serves as a profound exploration of the consequences of aestheticism and the pursuit of pleasure without regard for morality. Wilde challenges the societal norms of the time, critiquing the superficial values and moral hypocrisy prevalent in Victorian society.
The character of Lord Henry serves as a mouthpiece for Wilde's own views on art and life, advocating for the pursuit of pleasure and beauty above all else. However, as Dorian's actions lead to tragedy and ruin, the novel takes on a cautionary tone, warning against the dangers of unchecked indulgence and the abandonment of moral principles.
Wilde's prose is rich with wit, clever dialogue, and philosophical musings, making "The Picture of Dorian Gray" a timeless work that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of the complexities of human nature, the consequences of one's choices, and the tension between morality and the pursuit of aesthetic pleasure.
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About the Author
The ever-quotable Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet who delighted Victorian England with his legendary wit. He found critical and popular success with his scintillating plays, chiefly The Importance of Being Earnest, while his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, scandalized readers. Imprisoned for two years for homosexual behavior, Wilde moved to France after his release, where he died destitute.
Date of Birth:October 16, 1854
Date of Death:November 30, 1900
Place of Birth:Dublin, Ireland
Place of Death:Paris, France
Education:The Royal School in Enniskillen, Dublin, 1864; Trinity College, Dublin, 1871; Magdalen College, Oxford, England, 1874