The Picture of Dorian Gray: summary
Oscar Wilde was born in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland. Author of various works such as The Canterville Ghost or The Faithful Friend , he became internationally famous with his work The Picture of Dorian Gray , which has gone down in history as a great classic of Gothic horror literature. In a PROFESSOR we have prepared a summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray so that you know more about this great book and encourage you to read it if you have not already done so.
It is a work that starts from the argument so universally known as the search for eternal youth is. From here, we find great themes such as narcissism or dandyism, traits that different characters in the novel embody. What began as a short story by its creator, ended up being expanded and giving rise to this magnificent story.
Short Biography of Oscar Wilde
Before we start with this summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray let’s talk about the author. The son of a surgeon and a writer, Oscar Wilde lived a quiet childhood. As he grew up, he began to combine his university studies with multiple trips at the same time that he encouraged himself to publish his different poems in magazines, and then he liked to write. On a trip to the United States, he offered one of his first conferences where he dealt with the subject of “art for art’s sake,” the idea that he defended and that later served to lay the foundations of the so-called dandyism: Current associated with a refined person in dress, coming from the bourgeoisie, with great knowledge in fashion and strong personality.
He began to write and publish various stories that were gradually gaining fame, until he published his only novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” , which at first received quite a bit of criticism from the most puritanical and conservative sectors for its interpretation of the Faust story – influence that appears in the story – but later ended up becoming a classic gothic horror.
The Picture of Dorian Gray: Summary of Chapters I to V
We begin this summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray with chapters I to V. A painter named Basil Hallward and his friend Lord Henry are in Basil’s living room contemplating a painting of a man of astonishing beauty, a model who the painter loves it and it embodies his conception of beauty.
This beautiful young man is Dorian Gray , one of the protagonists of the story. At a great party, Basil introduces Lord Henry and Dorian Gray, who have a conversation about the transience of beauty, which will never be eternal. This is how Dorian begins to feel envy of his own painting, who will never grow old, not like him. During a meal at Lord Henry’s house, Dorian begins to talk about his love, Sybil Vane , with whom he will end up getting engaged soon after. Sybil Vane calls him “The Charming Young Man” because she doesn’t even know his name, but she is very much in love.
Summary of Chapter V to X
The three friends meet for dinner and to talk about the woman Dorian is engaged to, who is very much in love and wants to let her friends know how wonderful she is. As the dinner is over, Basil realizes that Dorian will never be the same again after the wedding. Days later, Dorian goes to the theater to see his beloved, since she is an actress, and finds that acting is painful. He is saddened and talks to her, who is nevertheless very happy because she has realized that the theater was a sham for her. Dorian feels betrayed and decides to leave her, saying that he loved her for being different and for how she acted. After this event, Dorian returns home and looks at his portrait. He realizes that something has changedthe portrait is being transformed by time. It scares a lot and covers it so as not to see it and assimilate it.
The next day, he reflects on what happened to Sybil and decides that he is going to ask her forgiveness. Just then, Lord Henry arrives, who informs him that Sybil has died that morning and that they are going to start investigating the causes. Dorian is saddened because he believes that he has died from his lovesickness and from here on, the protagonist spends his days looking at his portrait.
Basil visits Dorian and tells him that he wants to exhibit the painting. Dorian is very scared and begins to ask him why now he wants to expose him and not before, to which Basil ends up confessing that he feels more than friendship for him and leaves there, in the end, without seeing the painting. Dorian finally moves the portrait upstairs.
The Picture of Dorian Gray: Summary of Chapter X to XV
We continue with this summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray speaking from chapter X to XV. Dorian spent his days looking at the portrait and thinking about how lucky he was not to grow old, although at the same time, his painted body scared him more and more. One night he meets Basil, with whom he ends up chatting and invites him to his house. He tells her that people say that everyone who is related to him ends badly. Dorian decides to show him the portrait in order to show him his soul.
Seeing him, Basil freaks out. He tells him that his soul is horrible , that the portrait is horrible. Dorian cannot bear those words, begins to hate him and ends up killing him. Dorian manages so that it is not noticed that he has been the author of the murder, he contacts a scientist friend of his who asks him to eliminate the corpse with some chemical substance. Alan, the scientist, ends up giving in because Dorian threatens him. The corpse is removed but the portrait shows blood stains on his hands.
Chapter XV to XX
We end this summary of The Picture of Dorian Gray talking about chapters XV to XX, the end of the work. Dorian goes to a house and finds many people smoking opium, among them, a sailor rushes on him and tells him that he is Sybil Vane’s brother and that Dorian was his sister’s murderer. Dorian excuses himself by saying that he was very young at the time, to which two women tell his brother that Dorian has been just as young for 18 years.
Dorian goes days later to another dinner with Lord Henry where he meets Sybil’s brother again and collapses when he sees him. The next day, Dorian does not leave the house because he has terrors and he does not stop regretting having killed his friend Basil. On the third day he dares to leave the house with some friends, one of them accidentally kills a man and Dorian begins to have bad omens. They ask him to go see the corpse to see if he recognizes it and realizes that Sybil’s brother is the person who has accidentally died.
Going home, Dorian begins to think. He goes into the library, where there is a mirror that he knocks on the floor and breaks , goes up to the room where the portrait is and sticks the dagger with which he killed his friend Basil. He begins to feel pain and scream, so much so that the servants went up to see what was happening. As they went up they found a torn portrait and Dorian completely aged, wrinkled and old with the dagger stuck in his heart. At last Dorian had freed his soul from the hell he lived in within the portrait.