The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (8/10)

The Picture of Dorian Gray tells the storyof an innocent young English aristocrat, who, through the influence of a hedonistic noble, becomes depraved and twisted. In a fit of childish jealousy, Dorian realized that his beauty, that which he prizes most, is not long for this world. Following this realization Dorian wishes that a portrait of him would grow old in his stead, hence the title of this book. For the rest of his life, all outward change that should have occurred to Dorian is instead manifested upon the portrait. In time, the portrait’s visage grows repulsive with malice, eyes that were once blank now held the greatest contempt for the world. This is the premise that the Picture of Dorian Gray follows for its scant 230-page duration. The Picture of Dorian Gray is not a typical piece of Victorian writing. Where other novelist would shy away from the dank realities of the time, Oscar Wilde (the writer of the Picture of Dorian Gray) embraces it. Wilde vividly describes mutilated factory workers, squalid slums, and wasteful hedonism of the most selfish kind. These dark and gritty descriptions lend the Picture of Dorian Gray a melancholy and depressing mood. Though the long and tedious descriptions of certain parts of the story, such as the aforementioned dark side of London, enhance the story, Oscar Wilde also goes into tedious description of story elements that would be considered side notes by most. An example of this is when Wilde spends nearly 10 pages describing Dorian’s love of precious rocks in detail. If you know someone prideful or egotistical, this would be a good book to send him or her anonymously. The almost fable like message of “beware your pride” is not likely to be lost on such people. My opinion is that this book is both thoughtful, and brief, a quality that is almost impossible to find, which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this book. My final rating is an 8/10. This book has a gripping storyline and classic theme, as well as good symbolism in the form of Dorian’s portrait. However, the writer’s extensive, and oft monotonous descriptions of the story’s minutiae threatens to disinterest the reader. If you can get past this one downside, the Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde should provide an interesting read.

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