The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, written in 1891, is a timeless philosophical classic that is still seen today as an interesting debate on the true meaning of beauty. Basil Hallward, a kind-hearted painter, is inspired by Dorian Grey's unbelievable good looks. While painting a still life of Dorian, Hallward and an acquaintance, Lord Henry Wotton, discuss Dorian's beauty and the idea of perfection. Convinced by their discussion that beauty is the only thing that matters in life, Dorian wishes that he would never age. Instead, he hopes that his painting will age in his stead.
To his pleasure, Dorian's wish comes true, and Dorian's body stops aging. Feeling liberated, Dorian decides to pursue the darker side of life by indulging in his desires of women, drugs, and other scandalous activities. The more sins he commits, the more the painting of himself corrodes. When the artist, Basil, comes to visit, Dorian blames him for the painting's corrosion and murders Basil. He then convinces a friend to get rid of the body. Dorian still clings to the belief that beauty on the outside is more important than beauty on the inside, but eventually his past actions come back to haunt him. Dorian learns first-hand that he can't escape his very own self. This dramatic tale is written skillfully, and the shocking ending will have you on the edge of your seat.
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I think I liked some of the concept of Dorian Gray, and I liked the dialog (showing that Wilde was as quick witted as any). What didn't work was some of the description (but the description may work well for other listeners)
The story of Dorian Gray is a well known one. Even before listening to the story, I was aware of its beats, its themes, and some of its characters. As such, I wasn't riveted in place. However, it was worth taking the time to finish.
There have been numerous film and television adaptations of Dorian Gray, and I might see one of them, if only to see how they treat the famous picture.
The Narrator Lulled me to Sleep!
Probably not! I know this is a classic, but I found the story to be overly verbose and slow moving, while the narrator's soft voice lulled me into sleep often.
- Lindsay E Rew