The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Classics)


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Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: Popular Penguins

Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb. Here in its entirety is the classic, cautionary tale about the pursuit of eternal youth at the expense of the soul. When a beautiful portrait is painted of him, young Dorian Gray makes a vain, rash wish to always remain as beautiful as the painting.

His wish comes true, and Gray starts a descent deep into moral decay.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

As he indulges in excesses and corruption, his physical form remains unblemished — but the portrait becomes decrepit and ugly. Oscar Wilde — was an Irish writer, poet, and playwright. Fiction Classics Literary Fiction Category: Buy the Audiobook Download: Please try again later. From the moment the unfortunate Eve bit into the forbidden apple, to these current days, when we lesser-mortals are lured by the overpriced electronic 'Apples', Temptation has been shadowing us humans. A baneful prelude to our vices, very few amongst us can claim to have overcome temptation.

While we are protected by various constraints that help us overcome our temptations - social stigma, fear of gods, fear of law and so on - once in a while even the most saintly amongst us 'blinks' and lets temptation cause mayhem. The corrupt lot never lets any constraints stop them, while the Holiest few never let temptations taint them.

It is the ordinary beings in the middle that suffer the most at the hands of Temptation. Pulled by the pleasures on one side, barred from it by principles and penal codes on the other, this middle lot bears the onslaught of temptation grudgingly.

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How often have we craved to indulge in the vices to which we are lead — sometimes by becoming invisible, some other times by transforming ourselves into someone or something else! We have all wanted to relish the baser pleasures of life, without letting their effects stain our souls. This book then is the expression of such a desire on the part of Oscar Wilde.

This is a book on temptation, manipulation and eventual corruption. Except that here the protagonist - or, is it the antagonist?! The corruption of his soul is borne by his portrait instead of its carnal sheath. Dorian Gray is a charming young boy knocking on the doors of adulthood.

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Lord Henry is a wealthy, hedonistic idler whose only purpose in life is to seek pleasure and pleasurable sensations. Basil Hallward is a simple, righteous persona and a talented painter that 'adores' Dorian. A chance meeting of all these three - on the fateful day Basil puts his heart and soul into painting Dorian — designs the rest of the tale.

Lord Henry 'teaches' innocent Dorian to take pride in his own physical beauty, which is temporary and urges him to indulge in the pleasures suited to his age. Manipulated by Henry thus, Dorian becomes aware of the flush of youth in his veins, as truthfully depicted by Basil in the portrait, but is also dejected at the prospect of growing old and haggard someday. In one god-forsaken moment, he loudly wishes that he would even exchange his soul to stay as beautiful as he is and let that wonderful portrait feel the passage of Time.

Starting with the simple pleasures of life, Dorian once commits a serious injustice to the girl he falls in love with. Back at home, Dorian finds his portrait slightly changed to show signs of cruelty amidst all that boyish charm. But just as he repents and tries to make amends for his grave error, Lord Henry, a mentor as vile as there could ever be, sets him again on the wicked ways. Was Dorian able to mend his ways? Did he ever get to redeem his soul? This book is a tale that answers those questions.

Oscar Wilde wrote this novel — his only one — while English society was reeling at the height of Victorian morality. Being a homosexual himself, Wilde was condemned, ostracized and left to die in penurious exile. Remember, we writers have a knack of lending a part of our soul to the characters that we lovingly create. The sense of importance lent to the statements of Henry, the weakness with which the other characters contradict him and finally end up agreeing with him, the hold that this hedonistic idler wields on the whole tale are all evidence enough that Henry, more than even Gray, is the alter-ego of Oscar Wilde.

Not just for the author, but for us the readers too, this book holds a mirror. While stating the moral decadence that Dorian falls into, Wilde does not elaborate on the kind of sins Dorian takes pleasure committing. There also, the protagonist leads a double life, being a noble gentleman as Dr. Jekyll while lurking in the darkness as Mr. Hyde sating his gore hungers.

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To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. Published 1 month ago. The Classics on your Kindle in under a minute. Published 25 days ago. See all free Kindle reading apps. Jan 01, Minutes Buy. Basil Hallward is a simple, righteous persona and a talented painter that 'adores' Dorian.

But what kind of immoral activities that Mr. Hyde indulges in is never articulated, leaving it to our guess. Both these books are similar in letting us decide on the level of moral corruption, thus bringing out the inner demons that we have all been hiding inside us too.

The literary fluency of Wilde, his ability to portray in words the England of the late 19th century - from flora to the banal - do all make it a pleasure to read this book. Beneath the endlessly quotable characters and beyond the absurd supernatural premise lies a much deeper message. Or possibly several such messages. Sadly, I for one have no idea what they are supposed to be. Unlike almost everyone else I know who has read the book, it had no discernible impact on me except for making me a little more choosy about what I read. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful.

This is abridged version of Oscar Wilde's masterpiece. And as it is with every book of Great Illustrated Classics, there is illustration on every page. The sketches do portray the theme of the book well. This definitive edition includes a selection of contemporary reviews condemning the novels immorality, and the introduction to the first Penguin Classics edition by Peter Ackroyd. Oscar Wilde , son of an eminent eye-surgeon and a nationalist poet, was educated in Dublin and Oxford and became the leading exponent of the new Aesthetic Movement.

Imprisoned for homosexual acts, he died after his release, in exile in Paris.

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