Melanie posted a review at 2008-09-26 03:12:57.
Dorian Gray is one of the most beautiful people who ever lived- everyone thinks so. In fact, he is so beautiful that the famous painter Basil Hallward insists on painting a portrait of him. Dorian is unaware of his incredible beauty until he meets Lord Henry Wotton, a prominent nobleman who tells him to enjoy his youth and good looks. Lord Henry warns him that beauty is fleeting and claims that there is nothing more valuable in the world than a pretty face. When Basil finishes the picture, Dorian sees himself for the first time as beautiful and perfect. He understands that the picture will serve as a reminder of how beautiful he once was. "How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June... If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that- for that- I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing I would not give! I would give my soul for that!"Only after he breaks the heart of his first love (Sibyl Vane) does he realize that his prayer was answered- That his picture is the "most magical of mirrors." He comes home after breaking her spirit to the point she commits suicide, and notices that his beautiful face has an evil and horrible smile on it- that there are new creases around his mouth and the face looks dreadful. Dorian hides the picture, but checks back often to see how it has changed. He almost becomes driven to see the face get uglier and uglier as the portrait bears the burden of time and sin that Dorian commits. Meanwhile he is as young and beautiful as ever. Dorian ends up being cruel and selfish bringing disaster to all who love him. All except Lord Henry - the man who taught him all the principals he has.The portrait haunts him. Dorian is unable to achieve true happiness despite his many attempts at pleasure. By the end of the book he has committed murder of one of his only true friends, and been responsible for a few deaths as well. He wants his picture to stop haunting him... He even attempts to reform himself, but the portrait will not budge. Dorian Gray realizes "the soul is a terrible reality. It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It can be poisoned, or made perfect." He also understands that his has escaped his grasp forever. He blames Basil for painting the beautiful picture and believes all his failure is due to the picture changing and not him. He believes that it would have been "better for him [if] each sin of his life had brought its sure, swift penalty along with it. There was purification in punishment. " He escapes all of his evil unscarred, except the visual reminder of his painting, which is probably the reason he becomes so evil in the first place.In the end Dorian Gray decides to slash his portrait... the moment he does so, a horrible cry is heard by all the servants in the house, who then run upstairs to find an old withered man stabbed in the heart lying in front of the most beautiful portrait of their master Dorian. They only recognize his decrepit body because of the rings on his fingers.