Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)'s Reviews > The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
13614926
's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, fantasy, favorites-all-time, put-me-to-sleep
Read 3 times. Last read October 16, 2017.

Don't get me wrong. I have huge criticisms of this book. First, remove James Vane from the book; the plot doesn't add anything, just adds some unneeded drama to it. Leave the Vane family with Sybil. She was more than enough for the book. Second, remove the eleventh chapter, or whatever chapter it is that describes Dorian's hedonistic life. I don't care. I don't want to hear about it. Literally, I fell asleep this time around because it's so boring. Third, add back in some more homosexuality. I know, the times didn't allow it, but you know what? Screw them. I've read both the censored and uncensored versions. Basil's love for Dorian is just great.

So, all that aside, I'm going to try to explain to you while I love this book. Definitely more like a 4-4.5 book, but I give this five stars each and every time I read it. Why? I used to think that it was a great meditation on the soul. Do we have one? If we do, what do our actions do to it? Is it more like Socrates described it? Or, would Aristotle's ethical theory play more into it? Those are the questions that came up in my mind. Really, this is just a criticism of hedonism. Now, I see this book focused more around this quote:

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.

Dorian loves Basil. Then, Henry Wotton (still fucking love that last name) makes him grow; not age, per say, but he "matures" into a new person. He judges Basil. However, Dorian never can forgive him.

Basil and Henry are his parents. Basil gave birth to him. Henry molded him. And, if this makes any sense at all -- because it's 10PM and it's been a long day and I'm travelling home tomorrow -- recall that quote about influence?

"There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral -- immoral from the scientific point of view. [...] Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. his virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such a thing as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him."

To put your ideas into someone's mind and to shape them into the person you want to be? From what I understand of parenting (and, I'm not a parent, but -- like most people -- I have parents) that is the exact goal of it all. Henry put his "soul" into someone. More like, his thoughts. Like most devils, Henry doesn't really believe what he says. He just talks to hear himself talk.

Basil had it right when he talked to Henry about Dorian.

"This is your doing, Harry," said the painter bitterly.
Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. "It is the real Dorian Gray -- that is all."


Dorian, of course, doesn't see it this way. He blames Basil for his life. Basil showed him about his beauty, but never truly flattered him as Henry did. Henry showed him hedonism. It ruins the soul, doing what one wants for mere pleasure. I agree with Aristotle; happiness does not equal fun. To be happy, you have to accept that life is tragic and don't expect happiness. You have to suffer pain to be happy. Only to truly be happy, you have to know how good it feels when you are. And, Harry doesn't even really believe what he says. Otherwise, he would be in the same boat as Dorian. Sold his soul to a painting so he couldn't age. Yet, Basil is the one at fault.

I'll leave you with this parting aside: Ben Barnes will always be the best Dorian. Not that dude off Penny Dreadful. Not some blonde person. But, Ben Barnes. Yes, the movie sucked, but he is always who I'll picture.
13 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Sign In »

Quotes Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his) Liked

Oscar Wilde
“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Conscience and cowardice are really the same things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“There is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Sin is the only real colour-element left in modern life.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the caveman had known how to laugh, history would have been different.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“It is only the sacred things that are worth touching.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating -- people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“The one charm of the past is that it is in the past.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“I worshipped you too much. I am punished for it. You worshipped yourself too much. We are both punished.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“You seem to forget that I am married, and that the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties. I never know where my wife is, and my wife never knows what I am doing.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“My one quarrel is with words.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde
“Out of the black cave of time, terrible and swathed in scarlet, rose the image of his sin.”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


Reading Progress

February 16, 2014 – Shelved (Kindle Edition)
February 16, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read (Kindle Edition)
February 25, 2014 – Started Reading (Kindle Edition)
March 7, 2014 –
21.0% (Kindle Edition)
March 11, 2014 –
43.0% (Kindle Edition)
March 13, 2014 –
66.0% (Kindle Edition)
March 16, 2014 – Finished Reading (Kindle Edition)
May 11, 2016 – Started Reading
May 11, 2016 – Shelved
May 11, 2016 – Shelved as: classics
May 11, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy
May 12, 2016 –
page 31
14.49% "I hope I don't run out of sticky notes. I keep marking quotes to add and quotes to maybe use in my review."
May 12, 2016 –
page 38
17.76% ""Perhaps, after all, America never has been discovered," said Mr. Erskine; "I myself would say that it had merely been detected " The commentary on America is hilarious."
May 13, 2016 –
page 58
27.1% "I hope I have a chance to read more of this after dinner."
May 14, 2016 –
page 98
45.79% "Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. If I had my computer on me, I'd insert a gif of Umbridge."
May 14, 2016 –
page 128
59.81% "I hate this chapter. It puts me to sleep every time."
May 15, 2016 –
page 155
72.43% "Ugghhhh the symbolism. Slay me now, Oscar. Slay me."
May 15, 2016 –
page 164
76.64% "What the fuck did Alan do?"
May 15, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites-all-time
May 15, 2016 – Shelved as: put-me-to-sleep
May 15, 2016 – Finished Reading
October 16, 2017 – Started Reading
October 16, 2017 –
10.0% "Reread with no review attached!"
October 16, 2017 –
19.0% "Enter Sybil Vane."
October 16, 2017 –
43.0% "I always sympathize the most with Basil."
October 16, 2017 –
57.0% "Legit just skipped a chapter because I hATE THAT CHAPTER SO MUCH"
October 16, 2017 –
62.0% "Bye bye, Basil."
October 16, 2017 –
100.0% "*loving sigh*"
October 16, 2017 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.