, ,


SPOILER: This is part of my Currently Reading series, where I write my thoughts on books while reading them. These posts contain spoilers for the chapters mentioned in the title, so continue reading at your own discretion.

I finished it! And it was one of those rare books that leave me wanting more (probably because Wilde cut quite a lot of his manuscript due to the content). Right off the bat, the parts where Dorian is the ultimate debaucherous (yeah, it’s a word) libertine is missing. We read that there are many rumours about him, that he has burned many social bridges and people think he is evil and what not, but we don’t get to read about his lifestyle.

So Dorian is 38 now, buthasn’t aged a day. As he’s returning home late at night, he runs into Basil, who’s been looking for Dorian, since he’s taking the midnight train goin’ aaaanyywheeeere…hmm…I mean, to Paris. Basil is concerned about Dorian because of the rumours, and wants reassurance of Dorian’s innocence. Dorian brings him to the room where the painting is, so he can see for himself the degradation mirrored on the panting.

Basil is shocked at the sight of a hideous Dorian. Dorian gets mad. He feels judged by Basil, and blames him for everything because he painted the supernatural portrait. He grabs a knife and kills Basil, but the moral repercussions are almost non-existent. Afterwards, he manages, with the help of an ex-lover, from what I surmise, on whom he has dirt and threatens him, to get rid of the body Breaking Bad style.

Dorian goes to an opium den in East End, where he is spotted by Sibyl’s brother. He almost kills him, but when he sees Dorian’s face he realized that he is so young he couldn’t possibly have had a relationship with his sister, or even been alive, eighteen years ago. This even causes Dorian to start turning his life around.

Lord Henry shows up after a long absence from the narrative and we see how he still has an effect on Dorian, when he ridicules the latter’s resolutions to live a pure lie. He urges Dorian to live life to the fullest, like he has been doing so far, and not to waste his time on an uneventful one. Later, in Dorian’s presence, Sibyl’s brother is killed in a hunting accident, while he was stalking Dorian after learning that he was deceived in East End.

During the last few weeks, Dorian was involved with a country girl, whom he left honourably, and thought that he was sparing her from the sins in his life. He thought this was the first good act of many to come, and goes to check if the portrait has changed for the better. When he sees that there’s even more blood on the painting, from Sibyl’s brother’s murder, he takes the knife that killed Basil and stabs the painting. A scream is heard and the servants rush to the room, where they find a picture of young Dorian Gray, and an old man’s dead body on the floor.

I loved this book and everything about it: the language, the characters, the plot. Dorian faces moral questions with the advantage of not having to pay the price for sinning or ageing. Basil and Henry act as the tiny angel and demon on his shoulders, whispering in his ears.

It shows that Wilde is essentially a poet, because even in his only novel, his language is poetic and has that distinct Wilde wit in it. I will gather all the quotes I underlined and upload them on a separate post.