Wednesday, October 19, 2011
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is young, rich, handsome and connected, keeping company with a couple of old boys from Oxford: Lord Henry (Harry) Wotton, whom the author hilariously portrays as a pompous blowhard, and Basil Hallward an artist who paints Dorian's portrait. During their last portrait sitting, after Harry goes on and on about Dorian's youth and beauty and how he'll only get old and ugly from here on out, Dorian suddenly 'wishes' he could stay this young forever. Harry encourages Dorian to stay youthful by living life to its fullest, which Dorian takes to mean living life without scruples and avoiding such inconveniences as responsibility and consequences. Drugs. Women. Murder. Whatever. Fast forward twenty or so years and Dorian, now a hopeless scoundrel and cad, is still the physical picture of perfection. His portrait, however, has deteriorated into an ugly caricature that he can't bear to look at and won't let anyone else see. Finally, it dawns on him that his portrait might actually be reflecting what his soul has become. He quickly decides to do a 'good' deed to see if there is any positive reflection in the painting and when he sees that there is none, he stabs the painting in a fit of frustration and rage and then . . . . ! I won't give away the final scene.
Good book! I love Oscar Wilde's language, wit, and turns-of-phrase.
RIP challenge #6 - check!
I think the challenge only suggested a maximum of four books, but who's counting? I've got too many good and sinister titles on my shelf and there's still two weeks left in October, so.