Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Jul 15, 2014 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Book Emporium

I chose The Picture of Dorian Gray as my first classic of the year because lately I have been much inclined towards increasing my knowledge of classic literature. The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde’s only novel. It is the story of an egocentrical man who, because of his unusually good looks, thinks he can do whatever he wants. When he wishes a perfect portrait of himself bear the signs of ageing instead of him the picture soon becomes his most horrifying secret and it follows Dorian’s own downward spiral into insanity and brutality.

I had heard a lot regarding this book and it is the first piece of work by Oscar Wilde I have read so honestly I did not know what to expect never having experienced Wilde’s style of writing before. As soon as I started reading I was almost immediately captivated by it. Wilde incorporates the theme of aestheticism in his novel and it is beautiful. As I mentioned before as of late I have wanted to experience more of classical literature and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. My pleasure was heightened by the fact that I could enjoy reading the actual book instead of bearing with an eBook.

One of the main characters Lord Henry Wotton has a personality harboring on misogynism but the way he poses his sexist opinions is almost charming, which is strange I know but that’s what is all about Oscar Wilde’s writing I suppose, and the reader ends enjoying his dialogues even though they are being spoken by an unlikable character. It is through Lord Henry’s talks which heighten Dorian’s ego. In this way Oscar Wilde presents three different aspects of the book; how Dorian views himself, how others view him and ultimately what happens to Dorian when he starts believing the words of Lord Henry. This shows we should not always take what others say to heart.

It is interesting to note how some things never change, particularly when it comes to vanity. This book is set in the 1800’s in Victorian London and it tells us the how a reasonably decent man lost all control of his life only because he got caught up in the desire to stay young and whole for all eternity to the point where he was ready to commit a heinous crime just so he could preserve his good looks. It basically what we see even nowadays, people putting physical appearances above everything else.

It also shows how genuinely good natured people tend to get caught up in the crossfire like Basil Halliward who loved Dorian and believed his beauty went deeper than the physical.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a wonderfully written haunting story. It warns how the limits of art and aestheticism should not be pushed and how eternal youth is not all that it is thought up to be.

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1 Comment + Add Comment

  • Brilliant work! I really enjoyed this literary masterpiece myself. And what i felt was that this book opens up the bitter realities of life to us :)

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