Boekverslag : Oscar Wilde - The Picture Of Dorian Gray
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The picture of Dorian Gray (1890/1891)


Oscar Wilde

Point of view

The story is told by a third-person narrative, the narrator is outside the story. It is an omniscient narrator, he knows everything about all characters. The point of view changes, one chapter is Sibyl Vane's point of view, sometimes Lord Henry's, but most of the time the point of view is Dorian's.


Dorian Gray: 20 years old at the beginning of the book, and round 40 at the end. He is a pure, gentle, rich and beautiful young man. He is an orphan (his parents died when he was young) and so easy to influence. Lord Henry has a lot of influence on him. Dorian doesn't alter, this is because the picture that is altering instead of him. He said he would give everything (even his soul!) if the picture would grew older and he would stay as beautiful as he is, this is the first change under the inluence of Lord Henry. Before he met Lord Henry he was a pure and innocent young boy, but their first meeting changed Dorians life.

Lord Henry Wotton: a rich, older man, a witty and cynical dandy who seems to speak in aforisms only. He is an aesthete(minnaar v/h schone) and a hedonist(hedonisme=leer dat genot het hoogste goed is) and he considers life itself a work of art. Lord Henry tries to seduce Dorian into his own hedonistic life. He is married, but sees his wife only by accident. They have their own life and lovers. Lord Henry likes Dorian because he finds it delightful to watch him(p.56).

Basil Hallward: he is an artist, a famous painter. He is a quiet, young man, Dorian and Lord Henry find him boring,dull. Basil adores Dorian, he expresses his love for Dorian in the picture. Basil is homosexual. When he tells Dorian about his feelings, Dorian kills him. With the help of Alan Campbell, a chemist, he lets the body disappear.

also important!!

the young Parisian: he is a person from the yellow book, that Dorian gets from Lord Henry. This book is about a young man who ruthlessly(meedogenloos) seeks all the pleasures of human life. For twenty years this book will govern Dorian's life. He persues pleasure and passion, regardless of the young men and women he thrusts into despair and corruption.


The story takes place in London at the end of the 19th century


The story is told chronologically, there are no flashbacks. The time covered in the story is ± twenty years. Chapter 11 covers almost 20 years(I think eighteen, because before he is 20 and after he is 38) it is the most uninteresting chapter, about all sorts of things he collects.


It's an opening in the event, firts you get a description of the surroundings, the atmosphere and then you get into a conversation between Basil and Harry, you don't know anything about them yet or what they are talking about.


The end is closed, the story is finished. The picture is as it was at first and Dorian is dead, old and ugly. The end was really a surprise to me, I had not expected this. The end was the nicest part of the book, finally some action.


The moral corruption of a young man who enters into a pact with the devil in order to keep his youth and phisical beauty. autobiographical elements: great sensuality, homosexual adoration, aesthetic ideas, a hedonist, decadent lifestyle,.


The title The Picture of Dorian Gray refers to the picture that Basil Hallward made from Dorian. This picture is getting older instead of Dorian, who keeps his youth and beauty. This picture is very important in the story because it rules the whole life of Dorian, first he finds Basil guilty on his misery and kills him. Later he hates the portrait because it shows him how bad he is, and destroys the picture, and so kills himself.


Oscar Wilde:

  • born in Dublin in 1854

  • father surgeon, mother writer of nationalist articles

  • tudied classical languages, specializing Greek drama

  • 'Art for Art's sake'

  • aesthete, dandy, lived extravagantly(ch.11!!)

  • published poetry, fairy-tales and sparkling comedies, drama

  • The picture of Dorian Dray is his only novel

  • a brilliant playwright, shrewd and satirical

  • had a homosexual affair with Alfred Douglas and therefore sentenced to 2 years of hard labour

  • After these 2 years his popularity was ended and desillusioned, poor, depised, lonely and almost forgotten he died in Paris in 1900.

  • books: The Happy Prince (1888, fairy tale), The Canterville ghost (1891, fairy tale), Lord Arthur's Savile Crime (1891, f.tale), The Portrait of Mr.W.H. (1889), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891, novel).

    Plays: Lady Windermere's Fan, A Woman of No Importance, 1892-1895 An Ideal Husband, The importance of being earnest.

    De Profundis (letter) and The Ballad of Reading Goal (poem).

    Comments on this book report:
      What copy of The picture of dorian gray do you have? Where in the novel does Basil tell dorian that he is gay and then reveal his homeosexual feelings about dorian to him?? "suddenly an uncontrollable feeling of hatred for basil came over him, as though it had been suggesrted to him by the image on the canvas, whispered into his earby those grinning lips" He killed him because he was the creator of the painting. The thing that has been driving him made for 18 years. He felt that Basil was responsible for him selling his soul, and for the suffering that he has felt since that painting was done
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