My first encounter with Dorian Gray was in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I saw the film with my mom when I was younger, and so that is the memory I’ve always kept of the character. Last year, I brought up the character from the movie to my mom, and we discussed how charming he was. Then on my birthday, she surprised me with a beautiful leather-bound edition of this novel, so I’m glad to say I’ve finally read it.
The original Dorian Gray, however, is totally different. Dorian is a young, attractive, wealthy man who becomes influenced by two close friends of his, Lord Henry and Basil. These two men are like the devil and angel propped on Dorian’s shoulders, trying to guide Dorian through life. Basil paints a portrait of Dorian, marking forever his remarkable youth.
“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing…”
The writing of this story is thought-provoking, and extremely philosophical. I enjoyed Lord Henry more than anyone else. Everything he said made either absolute sense, or no sense at all. I really loved Basil as well. Dorian was my least favorite, although his actions were incredibly fascinating at times. Dorian tried time and time again to hide his evil deeds, wanting to be worthy of good things, but knowing he did not deserve them. I loved the complexity of his character, but I still did not love him.
There were so many wonderful turns in this story, and it made for an exciting reading experience. I wasn’t expecting so many things that happened. There’s nothing better than when a book takes me by surprise, especially a well-known classic.
“There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.”
The prose was beautifully composed. This is the first work I read from Oscar Wilde. I read up on Wilde’s life, and I was shocked by what I discovered. He was a truly talented individual, and did not deserve what happened to him due to being gay. I want to read all of his plays, and help keep his work alive. He was a wonderful storyteller.