I want to tell you about the famous novel “The picture of Dorian Gray” which was written by Oscar Wilde. “The picture of Dorian Gray” is the only published novel of this writer. Some words about Oscar Wilde. He was born on the 16 of October in 1854 in Dublin, Ireland and died on the 30 of November in 1900 in Paris. He was the second of 3 children. He was an Irish writer and poet. He became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, several of which are widely considered masterpieces. Wilde’s parents were successful Dublin intellectuals.
Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. But he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism. Wilde had sexual relations with men and boys, so he was imprisoned for 2 years. After prison Oscar changed his name in Sebastian Melmoth. He was died in exile in France November 30, 1900 from acute meningitis and was buried in the Bagneux cemetery in Paris. About 10 years later he was reburied on Pere-Lachaise cemetery and the winged stone sphinx was set on his grave.
His main works:
* Poems (1881)
* The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888, fairy stories)
* Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories (1891, stories)
* House of Pomegranates (1891, fairy stories)
* Intentions (1891, essays and dialogues on aesthetics)
* The Picture of Dorian Gray (first published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine July 1890, in book form in 1891; novel)
* The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891, political essay)
* Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892, play)
* A Woman of No Importance (1893, play)
* An Ideal Husband (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * The Importance of Being Earnest (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * De Profundis (written 1897, published variously 1905, 1908, 1949, 1962; epistle) * The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898, poem).
The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Setting and Time. The events of this novel take place in England, in London, in “Victorian” London. The time of the novel is divided into 2 parts between which the eighteen years passed. But precise time is not pointed. I think when the author wrote this novel (1891) this time he described in his work.
Plot. The novel begins with a conversation between Lord Henry Wotton and his old friend, a talented painter Basil Hallward in his workroom. Hallward is working on a portrait of an unusually handsome lad whom he has met recently. The lad is 20 years old and his name is Dorian Gray. When the painter had finished his work, he has presented a portrait to Dorian, who looking at the portrait thought: “If the portrait changes and I could always be as I am now”. Then Dorian begins to communicate with Henry Wotton very often and hi dips into the high life: he attends different banquets, spends his evenings in the operas.
Meanwhile Dorian fell in love with the actress of the poor theatre Sybila Wayne. One day Dorian goes tj the theatre with Henry and Basil to see how Sibila will perform the role of Juliet. But she had a fail and Dorian went out, saying “You killed my love”. The next day he knows that the girl committed a suicide. The gifted portrait becomes a mirror of the soul of Dorian: it reflects all the terrible things that Dorian did. For example, after the death of Sibila the horrible wrinkle appeared on his face. Basil is trying to talk to him, but in response to this Dorian kills him with a knife. Over many years Dorian doesn’t change, he is young and beautiful man. But once he decides to destroy his portrait. In the end, his servants reveal the dead body of the old man in the room. Characters. The list of main characters: – Dorian Gray
* Basil Hallward
* Lord Henry Wotton
* Sibila Wayne
Dorian Gray is a young man who is endowed incredible beauty. He devotes his life to hedonism and depravity. This figure is dual. He combines a romantic
and aesthetic person with vicious, ruthless offender (criminal). These two opposing sides of his character are in constant struggle with each other. The author puts Dorian Gray in fantastic situation: he gives him eternal youth and beauty, but his image on the portrait is aging and becomes ugly. Dorian traded his soul to find eternal pleasures. In the beginning of the novel Dorian is described as clever, decent person, respectable aristocrat, but after the death of Sibila he becomes cruel, violent, severe, heartless and soulless, immoral, cold-blooded and unfeeling. Basil Hallward is an artist who painted the Dorian’s portrait. His extreme devotion to Dorian Gray distinguishes him from other characters in whom he sees his own ideal of beauty and man.
Basil is a very creative person, he puts his heart and soul into his works. For him Dorian is “motive in art”. Basil is clever, kind, intelligent, conscious person who is always ready to help. Lord Henry is an aristocrat, a preacher of the new ideas of hedonism. He is indifferent to the people, he chooses friends and enemies on the basis of aesthetic considerations and self-interest. So, I can say he is brash, cheeky, sarcastic, avid, hypocritical and heartless. Sibila Wayne is an actress and one of the most amazing and moral images of the novel. Before meeting with Dorian she was living in a fantasy world, the world of the theater, she was a talented actress. Love showed her the artificiality of her world where she didn’t lived, but only played. With love in her soul the talent is lost because she tries to escape from the world of illusions to the real world. But it leads her to her death. She suggested Dorian love that would be an art in real life.
Themes. In the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” the basic aesthetic principles of the theory of art by Oscar Wilde (the preface to the novel) and their artistic realization (the novel) are combined. In the novel, a unique atmosphere of beauty is created – beautiful people, brilliant speech, perfect works of art, though sometimes the beauty turns into an empty embellishment. The theme of the novel – the futility of trying to match the life and art. The main idea is associated with the emptiness of aestheticism. The author shows us how disgusting the beauty may be sometimes from the inside. So, the another theme of the novel is inner and outer beauty.
Language. The style of Wilde’s writing is very hard and complicated to read. He uses a lot of complicated sentence structures, complex sentences with homogeneous members, direct address, parenthesis (for example, in the speech of Lord Henry). But also he uses simple, impersonal sentences in Dorian’s speech. Wilde uses in his novel a lot of dialogues, but narrative is also assisted (description of Dorian’s thoughts).
Opinions. First, I read this novel in brief, it is interested me, so I decided to watch the film, the screen version was very amazing, wonderful and I liked it. Also. I know that there are 28 screen versions of this novel. When I had time I read this novel fully. This book includes the preface with 25 author’s aphorisms about art. From the first pages I found it boring and difficult, but reading on and on I could not tear myself away. This novel has made a strong impression on me. Feelings were not pleasant because there is revealed the fall of the soul, the development and progress of evil. But I can say that the main character, Dorian Gray was a conscientious man, and quite self-critical. He occasionally looked into his inner world (portrait), saw the results of his fall, and knew what was happening. Wilde amazingly showed the expansion of Dorian’s soul that makes you think. After reading, I was lost in thought that the outer shell can be completely misleading, how often we forget about inner beauty caring only about the outer beauty. Moreover, the novel is full of different aphorisms and quotations. If you note down quotes, you can find a large number of them in this book. I think you would like many of them. Of course, I recommend reading this wonderful novel to all those who have not read.