“The Picture of Dorian Gray” Book Summary & Reviews | Written by Oscar Wilde (1890)

the picture of dorian gray book summary

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde is a captivating novel that delves into the themes of art, beauty, and morality. First published in 1890, the book tells the story of Dorian Gray, a young man whose portrait ages and bears the scars of his immoral actions while he himself remains eternally youthful and unscathed.

The main plot revolves around Dorian Gray, a handsome and charming young man who becomes infatuated with the idea of eternal youth and beauty. After seeing his portrait painted by the talented artist Basil Hallward, Dorian makes a wish that he would remain forever young while his portrait ages and shows the effects of his corrupt lifestyle.

As Dorian indulges in a life of hedonism and moral decadence, his portrait becomes increasingly grotesque, reflecting the true nature of his soul. The novel explores the consequences of Dorian’s choices and the destructive power of pursuing pleasure and beauty without regard for morality.

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is filled with thought-provoking quotes that capture the essence of Wilde’s wit and wisdom. Here are a few notable quotes:

  1. “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.”
  2. “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
  3. “I can resist anything except temptation.”
  4. “There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.”
  5. “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Why “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a Must-Read:

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a must-read for several reasons. Firstly, Wilde’s writing is characterized by his wit and sharp social commentary. He skillfully examines the hypocrisy of Victorian society and challenges conventional moral values.

Moreover, the novel explores the duality of human nature and the consequences of pursuing beauty and pleasure without considering the moral implications. It raises profound questions about the nature of art, the corrupting influence of society, and the pursuit of one’s desires.

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Reader Reviews:

  1. “Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a masterpiece that combines a gripping storyline with Wilde’s trademark wit. The characters are complex, and the moral dilemma at the heart of the novel is thought-provoking. A must-read for lovers of classic literature.” – Emma, Goodreads. 
  2. “I was enthralled by ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray.’ Wilde’s prose is exquisite, and the philosophical exploration of the corrupting influence of beauty and pleasure is compelling. It’s a book that stays with you and prompts reflection on the nature of morality.” – David, Amazon. 
  3. “Wilde’s novel is a chilling portrayal of the consequences of unchecked hedonism. The characters are vividly drawn, and the story raises important questions about the nature of art and the pursuit of aesthetic beauty. A classic that deserves its reputation.” – Sarah, Barnes & Noble.

Overall Conclusion:

“The Picture of Dorian Gray” is a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate readers with its exploration of art, beauty, and morality. Wilde’s wit, combined with the profound themes woven into the narrative, makes it a compelling read for those interested in examining the darker aspects of human nature and societal values. The book offers an insightful critique of Victorian society while delving into universal questions about the consequences of indulgence and the pursuit of eternal youth and beauty.

About the Author:

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish poet, playwright, and novelist. He was known for his wit, flamboyant personality, and contributions to the aesthetic and decadent movements of the late 19th century. Wilde’s plays, such as “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “An Ideal Husband,” are renowned for their clever dialogue and social satire. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is his only novel and exemplifies his keen observations on society and human nature. Wilde’s works continue to be celebrated for their wit, charm, and enduring relevance.

Books by Oscar Wilde