Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, originally published in 1890, details the life of exceedingly handsome Dorian Gray, who comes to live a decadent lifestyle in Victorian London. While initially innocent, symbolized by his alluring countenance, he becomes obsessed with a desire for eternal youth and beauty. Through his acquaintance with mysterious aristocrat Lord Henry Wotton, he enters a bargain in which he will remain handsome and youthful, while a painting of him, created by artist Basil Hallward, ages. This decision leads Dorian down a path of cruelty, corruption and immorality, with his painting reflecting the moral decay of his soul as he maintains his ageless attractiveness. He hides the portrait as he becomes increasingly paranoid, until a final reckoning when he can no longer carry the burden of his actions. In my opinion, this is a timeless masterpiece of Oscar Wilde’s, exploring universal themes of beauty, morality and human nature. His characters are memorable with witty and engaging dialogue, and a unique premise. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of gothic or horror fiction.
Apr 21, 2023