|"Youth! There is nothing like it!"|
I would like to make a review about one of the books I read this summer, that is “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, whose author is Oscar Wilde. The book is a philosophical fiction and the main themes are beauty, fulfilment of the senses, debauchery and dualism. The story is set in London and it is narrated by an external narrator, ho always shares the point of view of the characters. There are two conflicts in the story: the first one is between the soul locked in the picture and Dorian, the second one is between Basil, the artist, and Henry, a lord, because the share different ideals. Both the conflicts are spiritual.
The main character is Dorian Gray, a handsome, beautiful but superficial and carefree young boy who expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait would grew old rather than he. Basil Hallward, a deeply moral man and artist, becomes so infatuated with him that he decides to paint a picture of Gray. Later Dorian kills him after he has seen the magical portrait and his body is destroyed by Alan Campbell, a chemist and one-time friend of Dorian, just because he has been blackmailed by him. Lord Henry Wotton is one of the closest friends of them, he’s an imperious, decadent and extremely witty dandy. He conveys to Gray his view and Dorian becomes corrupted as he attempts to emulate him. Other relevant character are Sibyl Vane, a beautiful, talented but poor actress with whom Dorian falls in love, she commits suicide after he no longer loves her because she has act awfully. Because of that, Sibyl’s protective brother, James, a sailor who leaves for Australia, becomes obsessed with killing Dorian but he dies in a haunting accident.
|"The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold"|
The novel begins with Lord Henry Wotton watching his friend Basil painting the portait of a beautiful guy called Dorian Gray. When they meet, Wotton explains his point of view of the world, making belive Gray that beauty is the important thing of life. Dorian is so thrilled by the beauty of the portrait that he wishes he can always stay as young as the picture and he declares he would sell his soul for that. Magically, the image of himself becomes ugly and old under Dorian’s sins. He regrets Sibyl Vane, blinded by love, because she is not able to act anymore after she has discovered what love is, so she kills herself. The portrait is hidden in the attic and over the next eighteen years he experiments every kind of vice and sin, including killing his friend Basil. In the end, he tries to remove every proof of his crime by destroying the picture, but doing it he kills himself.
Personally I like very much the themes of beauty and youth because they can be seen both as positive and negative aspects of life. I think the book is most appropriate for people who know something about Shakespeare’s tragedies and about the 19s century because of its philosophical and historical contents. To conclude, the style is simple and the novel is ease of reading, even if sometimes it becomes boring because of the many descriptions.