Video appunto: Wilde, Oscar - The picture of Dorian Gray (10)
Wilde, Oscar-"The picture of Dorian Gray"
The novel is made up of 20 chapters.
The protagonist is Dorian Gray, a handsome young man. The artist Basil Hallward meets him at Lady Brandon’s (his aunt) home and Dorian’s beauty immediately attracts him. When the novel opens, Basil is completing his first portrait of Dorian. However, he’s not happy with his work because in his opinion it reveals his feelings for Dorian. His friend Lord Henry Wotton, who is obsessed with Beauty and Youth, introduces Dorian to the philosophy of Hedonism, that is a lifestyle based on the search for pleasure to please the five senses. Lord Henry has a negative influence on the gullible young man. As a matter of fact, Dorian wishes never to grow old; his desire comes true: he stays young and beautiful while the marks of his moral decay appears on his portrait.
Dorian meets Sybil Vane, a young actress who performs in a theatre situated in a slum and they fall in love each other. However, Sybil’s brother, James, thinks Dorian is not the suitable man for his sister. Sybil decides to stop acting because she can no longer pretend to be in love now that she has experienced it. Dorian, who loves Sybil because of her ability to act, breaks his engagement with her. Once back home, he realizes that his portrait has changed: it now sneers. Dorian fears all his sins will be recorded on the canvas and tries to reconcile with Sybil, but he learns that the young woman has killed herself. Then Dorian hides his portrait in the attic so that no one else can watch its change.
Lord Henry gives Dorian a book (the “yellow book”, which is “A Rebours” by Huysmans) which is about the hedonistic life of Frenchman. The “yellow book” becomes Dorian’s bible: he devotes himself to the search for pleasure and new experiences and disregards moral conventions and even human feelings. 18 years pass. Rumours about Dorian’s lifestyle spread, but London’s high society continues to admire him because he stays handsome and young. On a dark night, after an argument, Dorian proposes Basil to have a look at his soul: he shows him his portrait, which is now horrid. Basil tries to persuade him to repent, but Dorian replies it’s too late and eventually kills him.
The following night Dorian meets James Vane, who tries to kill him in order to take revenge. Dorian manages to escape but he’s persecuted by fear and guilt.
Dorian finally tries to destroy his portrait but, as soon as he does it, he dies. The picture recovers it beauty, while the marks of age and corruption appear on Dorian’s body.