The Picture of Dorian. Gray. Oscar Wilde. This eBook was designed and published by Planet PDF. For more free. eBooks visit our Web site at. Project Gutenberg · 59, free ebooks · 65 by Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. No cover available. Download; Bibrec. Download The Picture of Dorian Gray free in PDF & EPUB format. Download OSCAR WILDE's The Picture of Dorian Gray for your site, tablet.

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IN , Oscar Wilde published the first version of The Picture of. Dorian Gray in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. After vociferous public responses to the novel's. The Picture of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde. Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, site ebook. Pages (PDF): Publication Date: Download links are. Oscar Wilde {} was one of Ireland's best and cleverest writers. His plays and children's stories, as well as The Picture of Dorian Gray, are still enjoyed.

A letter to the St. James' Gazette 26 June again asserts the self-evidence of a moral in Dorian Gray: They will find that [Dorian Gray] is a story with a moral, and the moral is this; All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment Yes; there is a terrible moral in Dorian Gray--a moral which the prurient will not be able to find in it, but which will be revealed to all whose minds are healthy. Is this an artistic error?

I fear it is. It is the only error in the book. Letters These letters demonstrate Wilde's initial strategy for the public defense of Dorian Gray: to address his critics and detractors head-on by contending that indeed there is a moral. Wilde's publication of the famous "Preface" in the Fortnightly Review March marked an abrupt change of strategy.

Rather than arguing that Dorian Gray does have a moral, Wilde was now alleging that "there is no such thing as a moral or immoral book" 3. What the "Preface" does, in effect, is to articulate Wilde's version of the "art for art's sake" credo, distancing the work itself from the standards of what Dorian, parroting Lord Henry, calls "middle class virtue" Wilde's main purpose in the "Preface" which was included in the book edition of Dorian Gray was the obfuscation of what he considered to be an excessively apparent moral conclusion.

When Wilde wrote to the St.

James' Gazette on 26 June , he began a long series of evasive maneuvres that would continue until his eventual imprisonment. Aside from being ambiguous, Wilde's suggestion in the St. James' Gazette letter that the "moral" of Dorian Gray-- "all excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment"--is a massive understatement of the novel's essentially orthodox morality.

Dorian Gray is far more overtly Christian than Wilde's generically ethical statement seems to indicate. It conveys an orthodox rendering of the objective world, and reinforces this orthodoxy by maintaining the hierarchy of the Christian cosmological schema in its end. It can be inferred from the great efforts Wilde took to cultivate an outlandish persona that the last thing he wanted to appear was orthodox. Wilde's changes for the version of Dorian Gray, as well as much of his subsequent public commentary on the novel, are designed to obscure the fact that he had written a book with an ostensibly Christian moral.

Wilde seems to have truly believed his own dictum about the apparentness of the moral being the novel's "only flaw," and its Christian sensibility must have been that much more shaming for the "presiding spirit of [the] emerging new culture" of the "New Hedonism.

It should be evident by this point that "moral" is a problematic term when talking about Dorian Gray. Wilde's use of "moral" in the preface seems to imply the classical signification of the word as a broad collection of teachings or philosophies OED.

This points to morality as a comprehensive and presumably internally coherent system, precisely the kind of metanarrative that Jean-Francois Lyotard avowed his postmodern incredulity for. Wilde was unable to think of himself as entirely outside the assumptions of his age, but the "Preface" does allow for the looser senses of "moral" as the "teaching or practical lesson of a fiction or fable" OED and as a vehicle for "import, meaning, and signification" OED.

In the distance between these senses of "moral," Wilde is both anticipating some important notions of postmodern narrative theory and creating a novel whose somewhat scripted trajectory towards the "teaching or practical lesson" manages to lead to a plurality of viable access points. One of Wilde's less obtrusive edits for the version occurs in a description of the book that Dorian receives from Lord Henry. In the version the book is said to contain "metaphors as monstrous as orchids, and as evil in colour" [emphasis mine] Planet.

PDF For the version, Wilde deleted the word evil and in its place wrote subtle. Another such linkage occurs in the passage where Dorian is contemplating the sins of his forbearers.

The version reads: "he felt that he had known them all, those strange terrible figures that had passed across the stage of the world and made sin so marvellous, and evil so full of wonder" Planet. In his edits for the edition, Wilde substituted subtlety for wonder. The result is that evil becomes "so full of subtlety" ; again, subtleness and evilness are directly linked.

Wilde's first generation critics seem to have been reacting against the presence of sin in Dorian Gray more than the presence of evil. The difference is important. Evil is remarkably unobtrusive in Dorian Gray.

It is "crafty, treacherously or wickedly cunning, insidiously sly, [and] wily" one of the OED definitions of "subtle". And while evil is subtle in Dorian Gray, sin is anything but. As a novel that plumbs the depths of evil, The Picture of Dorian Gray needs a solid conception of "good" as its backdrop.

Given Wilde's cultural context and his own religious upbringing, that conception of the good could be supplied by little other than a Christian understanding of the world.

The cosmology of Dorian Gray, then, is consistently Christian; the drama of the plot is enacted on a stage of Christian doctrine with set-pieces of Christian values. Dorian Gray presents a universe in which God exists and offers humans some capacity to know good and evil, as well as the "free will" to choose whichever course of moral or immoral action they see fit.

The critics who reacted against Wilde's "immorality" either failed to recognize this or simply took for granted a fixedly Christian rendering of the objective universe. They focused instead on the fact that the characters exercise their God-given free will to operate, for the most part, as moral agents indifferent or oblivious to the consequences of their cosmological circumstances.

Charges of immorality against Dorian Gray also take for granted Wilde's indebtedness to the Christian account of human nature. The Genesis story finds Adam and Eve in an unspoiled world. They are morally righteous, and have been given only one directive from God to sustain this condition: Don't eat the forbidden fruit. In Genesis, evil enters the Garden as an external entity in the character of the serpent.

The serpent tempts Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree; they do, and their action is a sin. Alter committing their "original sin," Adam and Eve are condemned to leave the Garden and to contend with all manner of hardship and difficulty. Furthermore, their moral condition has been permanently altered: having sinned they have allowed evil into their souls, and it will continue to dwell inside them and influence their spiritual status on a permanent basis.

One of the central questions of Christian theology is the tension between humanity's post-lapsarian proclivity for evil and the doctrine of "free will," the idea that we have been given the capacity to choose good. The apparent problem is that emphasis on the freedom of humanity seems to detract from the glory of God, while emphasis on absolute divine predetermination seems to detract from human agency in making moral decisions.

A large part of the moral complexity of Wilde's novel is in his fidelity to this schema-- no theologian has been able to devise an entirely satisfying response to these seemingly contrary strains of Christian thought, and Wilde makes no attempt to do so either. Free will and predestination are both viable factors in determining human action in Dorian Gray, and neither can be said to trump the other. Dorian's downward slide is a result of bad moral decisions, in which he conversely recognizes his own agency and a sort of fatalistic inevitability I will return to this point throughout.

Both of these concepts relate to the problem of evil, which Christian tradition has tended to present as an active spiritual entity that fights to steer humanity away from "good" i. In the New Testament this "evil" is personified by the devil Satan , a real, if immaterial, personage.

In the Christian cosmology, then, good and evil are both external forces and internal spiritual conditions, and their motivators are seldom clearly distinguishable i.

Because of Adam and Eve's colossal gaffe in the Garden of Eden, humanity is permanently predisposed toward evil; however, at the same time we remain imbued with some capacity to choose the good.

As Dorian tells Basil, "each of us has Heaven and Hell in him" Like the serpent tempting Adam and Eve, Lord Henry enthralls Dorian with the false prospect of having sin without evil. Lord Henry is constantly associated with "sin": it is his stock word for any forbidden pleasure or social transgression that purports to pepper the dullness of life.

Part of his subtlety is the casual charm with which he belittles right conduct. In the Christian schema the eternal consequences of Lord Henry's positions are dire, but his charm and social grace sneak them in under the moral radar of his listeners.

But while Lord Henry is constantly associated with the word "sin," he is never once referenced as being "evil. He is manipulative, "crafty, wickedly cunning, insidiously sly, and wily" to again suggest one of the OED definitions of subtle.

He delights in "charm[ing] his listeners out of themselves" In the film The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey's character gives an interesting insight into the subtlety of evil: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was making the world believe he didn't exist.


He poses as a detached observer, toying with Dorian out of indifference rather than malevolence. But this detachment is affected as a guise to conceal the depth of his evil and the extremity of his moral position. Rather than a charming socialite or harmless epicurean decadent, Lord Henry is a Nietzschean ubermensch who believes himself to have thrown off the constraints of externally imposed morality.

His teleological purpose is to "be in harmony with one's self" Lord Henry's mistake here is the cosmological equivalent of Satan's great error in Paradise Lost: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" Both responses are forms of hubris: they fail to recognize their proper place in the divine hierarchy.

Lord Henry's moral position in Dorian Gray is akin to that of the devil; he is the initial serpent in the Garden, and continues to coax Dorian to evil throughout the novel. The Garden of Eden typology of the initial temptation scene is reinforced through "the great cool lilac- blossoms" 23 and "stained trumpet of Tyrian convolvulus" From the moment they are alone in the Garden, Lord Henry goes to work enthralling Dorian with his theories.

He begins by sharing with Dorian one of the "great secrets of life"--"to cure the senses by means of the soul and the soul by means of the senses" Lord Henry continues by exhorting Dorian to "Live!

Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be nothing A new Hedonism--that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol. With your personality there is nothing you could not do" The temptation to throw off the expectations of morality in pursuing a "new Hedonism" is compounded by the ever-declining prospect of Dorian's youth: "We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to.

There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth! Lord Henry's temptation is twofold: he lays before Dorian the prospect of realizing the desires of his soul and simultaneously goads him into sacrosanct belief in the supremacy of his fleeting youth and beauty.

Before leaving Basil's studio to walk together in the garden, Dorian tells Lord Henry that "there is some answer to you, but I cannot find it" But Dorian cannot find this answer, and is beguiled by Lord Henry into the emotional state that gives rise to his tantrum upon returning to Basil's studio.

In the fit of anger and frustration prompted by Lord Henry's tempting, Dorian unwittingly completes the Faustian deal: he calls for his youth to be maintained and the effects of his aging to be reflected in the countenance of the portrait. But Dorian has not yet sinned, and does not yet realize that the deal is in effect. For a time it is uncertain whether he will fall into sin at all, or, to use the language of Lord Henry, whether he will find the courage to rise above "middle class virtue.

The Picture of Dorian Gray can be read partly as a stichomythic struggle for the soul of its eponymous protagonist. This struggle occurs between Lord Henry and Sybil Vane. It is a classic battle of influence: angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. After Dorian tells his friend about Sybil, Lord Henry muses to himself about the incompleteness of his influence: "the lad was premature.

He was gathering his harvest while it was yet spring. The pulse and passion of youth were in him, but he was becoming self-conscious" That Dorian sees Sibyl as a counter-influence to Lord Henry is clear: "'Her trust makes me faithful, her belief makes me good. When I am with her, I regret all that you have taught me. I become different from what you have known me to be. I am changed, and the mere touch of Sibyl Vane's hand makes me forget you and all your wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories'" Dorian's decision to marry Sibyl is a de facto resolution to embrace the goodness she represents.

But the trouble with Sibyl is that, theologically, she represents an ideal that can never be fully realized. Her goodness is literally too good to be true; in the Christian context, even the regenerate sinner remains tainted by the effects of the original fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Sibyl's name "Vane" hints at the "vainness" of pursuing the ideal she represents--there is a sense of predetermination to Dorian's fall that is never really resolved against his "free will" to choose right action.

Dorian's pursuit of earthly perfection which is the ultimate end of goodness is dispelled in the same way that Sibyl's poor performance has shown her "'the hollowness, the sham, the silliness of the empty pageant in which I had always played'" It is the shattering of this ideal of goodness that leads Dorian to his own "original sin": the rejection of Sibyl.

Following the pattern of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, evil's first appearance has been external to Dorian through the character of Lord Henry. But the choice to sin is Dorian's own, and he does, permanently inviting evil into his heart and ushering him into a post-lapsarian state. As Dorian leaves Sibyl, the consequences of this "original sin" are evident immediately in the surrounding world: Where he went he hardly knew.

He remembered wandering through dimly-lit streets, past gaunt black-shadowed archways and evil-looking houses. Women with hoarse voices and harsh laughter had called after him. Drunkards had reeled by cursing, and chattering to themselves like monstrous apes. He had seen grotesque children huddled upon doorsteps, and heard shrieks and oaths from gloomy courts. It is finally when he realizes the significance of the change in the paintinga "touch of cruelty in the mouth" 87 that the word sin is associated with him for the first time in the novel: "He had uttered a mad wish Terrified by the ugliness of his sin, Dorian makes his second resolution to be good: One thing, however, he felt that [the painting] had done for him.

It had made him conscious how unjust, how cruel, he had been to Sibyl Vane. It was not too late to make reparation for that. She could still be his wife. His unreal and selfish love would yield to some higher influence, would be transformed by some nobler passion, and the portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him would be a guide to him through life, would be to him what holiness is to some, and conscience to others and the fear of God to us all Here was an ever-present sign of the ruin men brought upon their souls.

The moment calls to mind the Christian doctrine of sanctification, in which the regenerate sinner, having turned to God for deliverance from evil, is aided by the work of the Holy Spirit to more fully manifest the character of God while still on earth.

For Dorian it is not too late: through the work of God's "higher influence" and "nobler passion" he will be able to make things right with Sybil and atone for his sin.

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His statement here recognizes the flaw of seeking goodness through purely human means i. However, Dorian's pledge to be "transformed by some nobler passion" also seems to recognize his own strong complicity in the arrangement. In this sense, free will is never far from the moral action in Dorian Gray, and the "ruin men brought upon their souls" is seen both as self-imposed and as a predetermined consequence of human susceptibility to sin. The first testing ground for Dorian's renewed conviction to "be good" is the suicide of Sibyl Vane.

No one recognizes this fact more than Lord Henry, whose first action is to write to ask that Dorian not see anyone before he comes Picking up the stichomythic line of analysis, one can conceive that Dorian may have stuck to his commitment to "be transformed by some nobler passion" if Lord Henry hadn't got to him first. It even appears for a time as if he will, having refused to open a letter on the grounds that Lord Henry "cut[s] life to pieces with his epigrams" As it happens though, Lord Henry is the first to break the news to Dorian that Sybil Vane has committed suicide.

Realizing the importance of the situation, Lord Henry leaves no holds barred in tempting Dorian back to evil he goes so far as to offer his own sister as bait, and it becomes apparent later that Dorian has taken this bait [see pages 96 and ]. But it is ultimately Dorian's own cold indifference to Sybil's death that leads him back down Lord Henry's path: "So I have murdered Sybil Vane," said Dorian Gray, half to himself--"murdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife.

Yet the roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden. And to-night I am to dine with you, and then go to the Opera, and sup somewhere, I suppose Or had his choice already been made? Yes, life had decided that for him--life, and his own infinite curiosity about life. Eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasures subtle and secret, wild joys and wilder sins-- he was to have all these things.

The portrait was to bear the burden of his shame: that was all. Dorian's decision is not a manifesto or a declaration, but a querulous moment of acceptance. Lord Henry had tempted him with the false belief that he could be the master of his own sins; in reality, the reverse turns out to be true.

Evil has made Dorian its subject here, and the statement above is Dorian's recognition that he will be ruled by it acceptingly. All of this occurs with remarkable subtlety: Dorian conveys the sense that the choice has effectively been made for him, and signs the papers of his servitude to sin with his fatalistic "that was all.

In the Christian schema, Dorian is never beyond the reaches of God's grace: all he needs to do is repent of his sins and ask for it.

When Basil comes to visit Dorian the morning after this affirmation of evil, he has one last chance to pick up Sibyl's mantle as stichomythic angel. Basil isn't up to the task, however, and doesn't even attempt to steer Dorian back toward goodness.

Dorian tells Basil circumspectly of his decision to live beyond "middle class virtue" , and Basil decides that "he could not bear the idea of reproaching [Dorian] any more Rather than managing to discover the secret of Dorian's hesitance to display the painting, Basil ends up confessing the "secret of his own soul" 9 , his "curious artistic idolatry" 14 for Dorian. It isn't until years later that Basil works up the resolve to confront Dorian, and it is this decision that leads to his death: "Good God, Dorian, what a lesson!

What an awful lesson!

Forgive us our sins. Wash away our iniquities. The prayer of your pride has been answered. The prayer of your repentance will be answered also. I worshipped you too much. I am punished for it. You worshipped yourself too much. We are both punished. Let us kneel down and try if we cannot remember a prayer.

Isn't there a verse somewhere, 'Though your sins be as scarlet, yet I will make them as white as snow? He meets Basil in is aware that there is an undercurrent of sexuality in the street one night and invites him home.

They argue many of the relationships. Suddenly, Dorian feels hatred for Basil and kills writer to be honest about sexual matters.

In the end, good him.

Later, Dorian forces Campbell, a scientist he knows, triumphs over evil when Dorian kills himself. This is the to destroy all traces of the body using chemicals. Chapters 12— Dorian decides to become a good person. Later Dorian becomes simply a moral fable. The dialogue sparkles with numerous his soul. He stabs the picture and which have now become part of the English language. The police arrive to These epigrams are often based on irony or a reversal of find the dead body of an old and ugly man lying next to a logic, a typical example of which is when Lord Henry says portrait of the young and beautiful Dorian Gray.

A man cannot be too careful in choosing Background and themes his enemies. It is more like a myth or a morality tale than the realistic novels which readers are accustomed to nowadays. Discussion activities It contains so much dialogue that it is almost as if it is a Chapters 1—2 written version of a stage play. This is not surprising as Before reading Wilde went on to write a series of very successful plays 1 Discuss: Ask the students to look at the picture on in the three years following its publication, including his the cover of the book.

Have you ever had your portrait masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest. What kind of person do you think this man is? Say why or why not. Have them list specific qualities desires. When they have soul is more valuable than anything he could possibly finished, have some of the pairs read their lists to the gain in the material world.

See if other students agree, or have different Lord Henry represents the devil figure and Dorian Gray qualities on their lists.

But he goes my friends for their beauty and my enemies for their too far by killing his old friend Basil Hallward and then intelligence. A man cannot be too careful in choosing suffers from guilt. Wilde is showing us that nobody can his enemies.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Do they escape the moral consequences of their actions. Each student finds one more epigram from these chapters. It 5 Predict: Have the students read the heading for cannot be hidden. Then have them write groups.

They discuss this statement and whether they about these questions: What kind of person do you agree with it or not.

Why do you think After reading this? How do you think he would treat someone he was 15 Write: Put students into small groups and get them in love with?

When they are finished, have 7 Debate: Divide the class into two groups and hold a some of the groups read their sentences to the rest of debate on one of these sayings from Lord Henry: the class. Women never have Chapters 11—12 anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Then have when we are good we are not always happy. I am not going to do any more. In small groups, students answer these write down what they think will happen to Dorian questions: a Do you believe what Dorian says above?

Were they correct? Before reading 10 Put students into small groups to answer these 18 Predict: Have the students think about why questions: a Why does Dorian change his mind about Chapter 13 is called To Kill the Past. Then put them Sibyl? Or had into small groups to discuss who they think would he already chosen?

What is this choice?But he goes my friends for their beauty and my enemies for their too far by killing his old friend Basil Hallward and then intelligence. How can I pretend to be Juliet - to feel Juliet's love, when I know now what true love is?

Dorian doesn't know about my feelings. James' Gazette letter that the "moral" of Dorian Gray-- "all excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment"--is a massive understatement of the novel's essentially orthodox morality.

The face in the picture was still terrible - more hateful, if possible, than before - and the red on the hand seemed brighter, like new blood.

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