Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work.
The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it ﬁrst appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting inﬂuence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.
Oke, this is going to be a short one as I really have no idea what to say on Dorian Gray. I have stated to Milou that I feel that the English used here in was so far above my pay grade and upbringing that it actually makes me sad that I could not relate to half of what was going on. I resolved to the only question that was constantly at the forefront of my mind i.e; “these guys are all obviously gay right?” Not that stuff like this bothers me. The problem I have or, rather, the dilemma that has sprung was of me not understanding half of what Oscar, who lived 200 years before me was trying to say. The guy wrote beautifully. He questioned things that was akin, if not true heresy in the eyes of those that regulated and ruled over what the masses should think. While Oscar was himself a homosexual that had to live in those times and had to keep it all hush hush, I can do no more than take my hat of to his forward thinking.
This story had quite a slow start, but once it gets to where Dorian starts hiding the picture and finds it hideous every time he goes and does naughty stuff was really good even if it was very vague as to what exactly it was he was doing, like I said, I am not a learned man and some references to piers of 200 years before is all but lost on me, apart from maybe knowing their names. I have no background knowledge of all the different deities and artists of the time the book takes place in, but I could appreciate the image Wilde was putting forward, even though it was quite vague to me.
Then we get to the ending that just left me confused and I believe that is where people have drawn inspiration from most of the story. Dorian sees his picture being corrupted as he corrupts himself, yet when the people find him in his last state by the end of the book there is nothing wrong with the picture? Was all this stuff just in his head then? He made it out worse than what it actually was or “did” the picture hold some magical properties only to return to normal as Dorian killed himself? That is the question that boggled me the most at the end. I loved that the book was in essence a sort of ghost story, as well as explore the human thought and reasoning process.
This was not a bad read for a book that is over 200 years old. Certainly holds up and I can see how it could’ve been written in today’s times even, if we had Oscar among us that is. It saddens me that he had to suffer for his art and just looking at how things turned out by today’s standards can’t help but think what he would’ve written or been like. I can imagine him as being along the lines of Stephen Fry, but I think that mostly comes because of the fact that Fry played Oscar in a movie that was a sort of documentary on Wilde’s life.
I gave Dorian Gray 4 out of 5. I provoked quite a few good points on views and outlooks on life coming from sit Henry, that guy was quite the star of the show in my eyes, even though he was a bit nihilistic in some of the things he said. Then again, even in that there hangs some truth that could still be relevant today. I figure that every one has a different favourite in this story. Those were my thoughts as well written an unaltered as they will ever be. Do I feel more learned now that I finished this book? I would say yes, some what… I am happy to tick off another “classic” from the long list of classics I still have to get to at some point in my life. Who knows, maybe I can find my own Basil to paint a picture of me giving me extra longevity so I can have time for more books… That’s all for now.