February 27, 2005

A picture says a thousand words

I could honestly not put The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde down. I had to keep reading it to find out what was going to happen next. Wilde fills the reading with suspense at the endings of every chapter in this book.

I could not help but hating Dorian Gray towards the middle of this book. He did not even seem to care of Sibyl Vane's death. In fact, it is written in the book, "What had Dorian Gray to do with Sibyl Vane's death? There was nothing to fear. Dorian Gray had not killed her."

I feel that he did kill her. His sould had first started to appear ugly after Sibyl Vane had killed herself. He did kill her. He killed her with his evil words that he said to her. Dorian told her, "How little you can know of love, if you can say it mars your art! Without your art, you are nothing...What are you now? A third-rate actress with a pretty face."

What a shame! I would say Dorian's words are what killed this girl. His wickedness had first started to appear at this moment, without him even realizing it.

The book stated, "...and lay there like a trampled flower." Flowers are definitely symbolic in this book. She was trampled on like a flower, because Dorian had trampled on her heart. Lord Henry was plucking off flower petals at the beginning of the story when he realized Basil had something that he doesn't (a very good friend-Dorian), and Dorian had crushed a flower right before he had killed basil. The destruction of flowers in this book represents the destruction of one's soul.

After Dorian had viewed his picture the first time it had changed, he thought, "It had taught him to love his own beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul?"

After he found out about Sibyl Vane's death, he thought that the picture found out about this before he did. That is why the painting had changed.

Another interesting part of the book was when Basil came to discuss with Dorian that he wanted to put his painting in an art exhibit. Dorian started to become afraid. He did not want his sould revealed to the world. Dorian thought to let Basil explain to him why he would never put the painting in there in the first place. Basil explained his secret to him. Towards the end he said that he did not want to put it in the exhibit after all. Dorian was relieved. Later he said, "There is something fatal about a portrait. It has a life of its own."

The part of the story that made me hate Dorian the most was when he had killed Basil and then got an innocent man to help clean up his mess. The innocent man ended up commiting suicide, which also would put destruction into Dorian's soul.

I feel that Dorian has become the painting, ever since the begining of the book when he stated that he would give anything, even his soul, to become the painting (to stay young forever). Well, he got what he prayed for. Throughout the book, everyone stated how wicked and evil takes a tool on a person. If a person is wicked and does evil things, it shows on their outward appearance (through ugliness). Because Dorian was doing evil things and his real self was not showing it, no one believed that he was commiting such acts of evil. The painting was what was showing Dorian's true self. The painting was Dorian. It was not only his soul, it was his whole self. The youthful Dorian was a fake, it was what the artist had created of him.

What told me this was the ending. Dorian wanted to destroy the painting. He thought that if he destroyed the painting that he would become good. His past would be behind him. He was wrong. Piercing the painting had caused him to kill himself (because the painting was himself). He was found lying on the floor with a knife pierced through his heart. The painting looked just the way it first had when it was painted, but Dorian looked ugly, wrinkled, hideous, and evil. No one knew who it was until they recognized his rings on his hands.

Dorian had finally got what he deserved. I know this sounds cruel, but of all the evil he has done to others, there was finally evil done to him. Not only was evil done to him, it took over his entire body after he had destroyed the painting.

Dorian, in the end, committed suicide, without even knowing he did it.

Posted by Anne Stadler at February 27, 2005 03:39 PM | TrackBack

I'm glad that you got into the book... the middle part really does turn into a Victorian potboiler, but that's part of what makes it fun. A handsome and dashing villain, who is also the protagonist. leave it to Oscar Wilde to think up that!

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 27, 2005 05:53 PM

"Of all the evil he has done to others, there was finally evil done to him."

Was it evil that was done to him, or justice?

Posted by: Johanna at March 1, 2005 03:28 PM
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