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Facts

Writer: Oscar Wilde

Year of publication: 1994

Pages: 208 (afterword included)

Publisher: Wolters-Noordhoff



Main characters

Dorian Gray: A good looking young man who probably stays young because he sold his soul. He is from the high class. He was in love with Sibyl Vane but she committed suicide. He murders Basil Hallward because he made the painting of him.

Lord Henry Wotton: An intelligent man who has a theory for everything. He changes Dorian because of his theories. he is of the high class.

Basil Hallward: A painter that gets his inspiration from Dorian only. He is Sir Henry's friend and gets killed by Dorian later on.

Sibyl Vane: She is a young girl that works as an actress and falls in love with Dorian. She kills herself when Dorian tells, he loved her only when she was acting.

Genre

It's a drama.



Story-outline

It's about a young good looking man of the high class. He poses for Basis, a painter, where he meets Lord Henry. They talk and become good friends. Lord Henry changes Dorian because of his theories. When the picture is finished and Dorian sees it, he says he would give his soul if he could stay young and the picture would grow old. Then Dorian falls in love with a young acress calles Sibyl Vane. He visits all of her performances and asks her to marry him. She accepts. But when he goes to her performance with Lord Henry and Basil, she plays very bad; because she knows now what love is and so she can't act it anymore. Dorian brakes up in a mean way. The next morning he regrets it and writes a letter but to late, because Sibyl killed herself. Then Basil asks if he can exhibit the portrait of Dorian but Dorian refuses with stupid excuses. He brings the portrait to a chamber upstairs and he locks the door. Then he starts collecting all sorts of things. Later when he looks at the painting, he finds out that he is possessed by mad hungers and there is something evil in the painting. Then there is a leap of thirteen years forward. So, when he is 38 and has not changed a bit, he shows the painting to Basis. Basis sees the evil and wants to pray with Dorian. Dorian kills him with a knife. Then he blackmails Alan Campbell to get rid of the body. Alan Campbell commits suicide afterwards because he can't live with it. When Dorian is with a prostitute who calls Dorian: "Prince charming", he is threatened with a gun in the alley by he looks like 20. The prostitute tells him he is wrong, so he goes on with tracking Dorian down. He accidentally gets shot at a hunting party. Dorian returns to his London house to see if the painting changed for the better. He finds out it is the same. When he tries to destroy it, he kills himself.



Narrative technique

It changes by who is talking, but it is mostly Dorian.



Theme

How people make decisions that they regret very much later on. For example: The wish to be young, the way he broke up with Sibyl and the murder of Basil.



Symbolism

The 13-years pause: 13 brings bad luck. The blood that is on the hand of the painting, because the blood of Basil came there. And how it looks like he has got blood in his hands.



Explanation of the title

It's the picture that started all the trouble, so it is about the picture.



My opinion

My first impression was that is looked nice, but when I started to read I thought it was very dull. But then there came a real story in it and I liked it very much.



Information on the writer

WILDE, Oscar (1854-1900). The Irish poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde wrote some of the finest comedies in the English language: 'Lady Windermere's Fan', published in 1892, 'A Woman of No Importance' (1893), 'An Ideal Husband' (1895), and the ever-popular 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (1895). He was a great conversationalist and a man of wide learning, but his life ended in disgrace and poverty.

Wilde was born on Oct. 16, 1854, in Dublin, Ireland. He was educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Trinity College in Dublin, and Magdalen College, Oxford. He then settled in London, where in 1884 he married Constance Lloyd. They had two sons. He published his early poetry, wrote book reviews, and edited the journal Woman's World. His only novel, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' (1891), was severely criticized as immoral. He had the ability to take conventional plots and turn them into brilliant comedies by his witty dialogue. In the classic 'The Importance of Being Earnest', the plot and the dialogue are equally fantastic.

In 189l Wilde began an ill-fated friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas, whose father objected violently to Wilde. Wilde sued the father for libel. The case collapsed, and Wilde himself was arrested for homosexual offenses under the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1895. Wilde was found guilty and sentenced on May 25, 1895, to two years at hard labor. He recounted his prison experience in 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' (1898). After his release he left England, never to return. He divided his time between France and Italy, living in comparative poverty. But he continued to delight a small circle of friends with his conversation. Except for letters, he made no attempt to resume writing. He died in Paris on Nov. 30, 1900.

(Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Copyright 1992)



Albright, Ivan (1897-1983), U.S. painter, born in North Harvey, Ill.; studied at Art Institute of Chicago; known for realistic depictions of decay; notable works include 'Into the World Came a Soul Called Ida' and 'That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do'; worked on the paintings for film version of Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.

(Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Copyright 1992)



PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, THE



Directed by: LEWIN, ALBERT

Starring: LANSBURY, ANGELA; HATFIELD, HURD; VANE, SIBYL; SANDERS, GEORGE

Story: AN ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ADAPTATION OF OSCAR WILDE'S SHORT STORY ABOUT A HANDSOME YOUNG VICTORIAN GENTLEMAN WHO REMAINS ETERNALLY YOUNG, WHILE A PORTRAIT OF HIM GROWS OLD AND BEARS THE UGLY SCARS OF HIS VILE UNDERTAKINGS. HE KEEPS HIS LOATHSOME SECRET LOCKED BEHIND A SCHOOLROOM DOOR.

(Movie Select, CD-ROM, Producer: Barry M. Schuler, 1993)



Designed by David van Beek

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