The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray Character Analysis

Represents the ideal of youth, beauty and innocence to his new acquaintances Basil and Lord Henry. He is the subject of the wonder and affection of Basil, and is immortalized in Basil’s painting as a living Adonis. His luck changes though, when he starts to become aware of the transience of his good looks. He becomes obsessed with staying young, but when his wish for the portrait to do his aging for him comes true, a horrible supernatural chain of events ensues. Dorian is heavily influenced by Lord Henry, who teaches him about hedonism, and Dorian seeks a life of pleasure and ruins his reputation. In the end, his vanity and selfishness ruin him, and the portrait provides a visual representation of the degradation of his soul, meaning that his life really does become art.

Dorian Gray Quotes in The Picture of Dorian Gray

The The Picture of Dorian Gray quotes below are all either spoken by Dorian Gray or refer to Dorian Gray. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Mortality of Beauty and Youth Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray published in 2003.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“He is all my art to me now.”

Related Characters: Basil Hallward (speaker), Dorian Gray
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 2 Quotes

“If it were only the other way! If it were I who was always young, and the picture that was to grow old!”

Related Characters: Dorian Gray (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Picture
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

“I have seen her in every age and every costume. Ordinary women never appeal to one’s imagination. They are limited to their century.”

Related Characters: Dorian Gray (speaker), Sybil Vane
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

“I am changed, and the mere touch of Sybil Vane’s hand makes me forget you and all your wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.”

Related Characters: Dorian Gray (speaker), Lord Henry Wotton, Sybil Vane
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 7 Quotes

“So I have murdered Sybil Vane,” said Dorian Gray, half to himself, “murdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the roses are not less lovely for that.”

Related Characters: Dorian Gray (speaker), Sybil Vane
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes

“One day, a fatal day I sometimes think, I determined to paint a wonderful portrait of you as you actually are, not in the costume of dead ages, but in your own dress and in your on time.”

Related Characters: Basil Hallward (speaker), Dorian Gray
Related Symbols: The Picture
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

And, certainly, to him Life itself was the first, the greatest, of the arts, and for it all the other arts seemed to be but a preparation.

Related Characters: Dorian Gray
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes

What was that loathsome red dew that gleamed, wet and glistening, on one of the hands, as though the canvas had sweated blood?

Related Characters: Dorian Gray
Related Symbols: White and Red, The Picture
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

The coarse brawl, the loathsome den, the crude violence of disordered life, the very vileness of thief and outcast, were more vivid, in their intense actuality of impression, than all the gracious shapes of Art, the dreamy shadows of Song.

Related Characters: Dorian Gray
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

If the tapestry did but tremble in the wind, he shook. The dead leaves that were blown against the leaded panes seemed to him like his own wasted resolutions and wild regrets.

Related Characters: Dorian Gray
Page Number: 191
Explanation and Analysis:

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“You would sacrifice anybody, Harry, for the sake of an epigram.”

Related Characters: Dorian Gray (speaker), Lord Henry Wotton
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes

“It is not in you Dorian to commit a murder. I am sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure you it is true. Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don’t blame them in the smallest degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations.”

Related Characters: Lord Henry Wotton (speaker), Dorian Gray
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes

His beauty had been to him but a mask, his youth but a mockery. What was youth at best? A green, unripe time, a time of shallow moods and sickly thoughts.

Related Characters: Dorian Gray
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:

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Dorian Gray Character Timeline in The Picture of Dorian Gray

The timeline below shows where the character Dorian Gray appears in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Mortality of Beauty and Youth Theme Icon
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...in him. Basil knows all this. They all have different gifts, his artistry, Henry’s wealth, Dorian Gray’s beauty, and all are curses in their own way. (full context)
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Realizing he has given away Dorian’s name, Basil confesses that he hadn’t wanted to reveal him to Henry, but had wanted... (full context)
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Basil met Dorian Gray at a party. He says that an artist must go into society occasionally to... (full context)
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...Brandon, a shrill, social butterfly, brings Basil around to meet some of the guests. Spotting Dorian again, Basil asks to be introduced, though seems to think that he and Dorian were... (full context)
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The subject turns back to Dorian Gray. Basil confesses that he has been spending more and more time with the boy... (full context)
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Henry desperately wants to meet Dorian now. Basil explains that Dorian will probably not have the same effect for Henry, that... (full context)
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When asked if Dorian Gray has any fondness for him in return, Basil says he sees a certain affection... (full context)
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...lunch for an afternoon at Basil’s instead. He remembers then that he has heard about Dorian’s charms from his Aunt. Basil is glad he had not known at the time of... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Henry and Basil go into the house and find Dorian Gray playing a song at Basil’s piano. Lord Henry is introduced to him, and mentions... (full context)
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...afternoon he had planned. He tells Henry to leave so that he can paint. But Dorian tells Basil off for being sulky. Basil gives in of course at Dorian’s request but... (full context)
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Dorian takes his place on the platform. As he poses, he asks Lord Henry about his... (full context)
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Dorian is amazed by Henry’s philosophy. He is overcome with admiration for the intellect he is... (full context)
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In the garden, Henry notices Dorian smelling one of the fragrant lilac-blossoms. He praises him for it. He tells Dorian that... (full context)
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Lord Henry takes Dorian inside. He warns that sunburn would ruin him. He must preserve his youth. He may... (full context)
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Henry asks Dorian if he is glad they met. Dorian is certainly glad but suspicious that it might... (full context)
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Dorian can’t bear the thought of all those horrible changes coming true. He exclaims his desperate... (full context)
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Basil tries to comfort Dorian, but he is distraught. He blames Lord Henry, and they quarrel about his influential ways,... (full context)
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As they have tea, Basil reprimands Henry for saying wild things to Dorian. But Dorian is not put off. When a trip to the theatre is proposed, he... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...come to him wanting money, but Henry is interested in gaining some information instead, about Dorian Gray. He knows that the boy has come from the Devereux family and that his... (full context)
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...for her incessant philanthropy. Leaving the old man to his grumbling, Lord Henry thinks about Dorian’s story as he walks to his Aunt’s house. He is now fascinated by the romance... (full context)
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...missed his Aunt’s house in his distracted state. When he eventually arrives, the guests, including Dorian, are seated. Henry observes the crowd, summing each one up for his or her class... (full context)
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...things. Gathering momentum, Henry masterfully plays with his argument, running linguistic circles around his audience. Dorian observes him at work and is fascinated. (full context)
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...of his strange opinions, Mr. Erskine departs. Lord Henry decides to head to the park. Dorian wishes to follow, even though he has made a prior engagement to visit Basil. Henry... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Now a month later, Dorian is in Henry’s library, waiting for Henry to arrive. It is another of Henry’s philosophical... (full context)
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They share views on talking during musical performances, Dorian saying that he would only talk during bad music. This amuses Victoria as an echo... (full context)
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Lord Henry arrives and Lady Henry, after praising Dorian’s charm, departs. Henry complains about his wife’s sentimentality and orders Dorian never to marry. Dorian... (full context)
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Dorian asks Lord Henry to sympathize, because after all, it is his influence that can be... (full context)
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Dorian goes on to describe the cheapness of the theatre’s interior. He tells Henry that the... (full context)
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When Henry asks what kind of relationship Dorian has with Sybil, Dorian defends that it has been entirely innocent and calls Sybil “sacred”.... (full context)
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Henry now knows why he hasn’t seen Dorian for ages. He urges that they finally dine together that evening, but Dorian wants to... (full context)
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Dorian hasn’t been keeping in touch with Basil. The last contact he had was when Basil... (full context)
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Dorian leaves for the theatre and Henry contemplates his feelings for the young man. He takes... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...forget her acting and her earnings, but Sybil insists that love conquers money. She praises Dorian above all things, boasting of his social status as well as his affection and how... (full context)
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...but Sybil is full of color and beauty as her mind revels in thoughts of Dorian. She remembers that Dorian is wealthy and that she must also consider the conventions of... (full context)
Chapter 6
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As they dine together, Henry informs Basil that Dorian is to be married. Basil doesn’t believe it, and Henry reminds him that being engaged... (full context)
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...of the match, Henry says the experience of marriage will be interesting to observe in Dorian but that he disapproves of marriage as a whole, saying it makes people unselfish. Basil... (full context)
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Dorian interrupts them, in jubilant spirits and tells his friends about his engagement. He describes how... (full context)
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Henry pushes Dorian to explain about his engagement. He says that it was actually Sybil who first mentioned... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...at the theater, Henry and Basil see firsthand its crude set up and rough-looking crowd. Dorian promises Henry that Sybil will make it all seem quite different, as she stirs the... (full context)
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...The three men are fascinated by her. Henry realizes that she is as beautiful as Dorian had promised. But though her appearance is divine amongst a cast of plain players, Dorian... (full context)
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...which had seemed so real, now seems shallow. She seems overjoyed at this revelation but Dorian can no longer bear to look at her. He erupts in an angry tirade, saying... (full context)
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Dorian, in a kind of trance, wanders the night away through the streets of London, finding... (full context)
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Dorian, disturbed, remembers the sentiment the portrait initially stirred in him and his prayer for the... (full context)
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Dorian imagines the horrible transformation the portrait would go through. He tries to imagine a sinful... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Dorian is woken by his valet well into the afternoon. He rises and catches up on... (full context)
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But the clearness of the memory haunts Dorian. He tells the valet, Victor, not to accept any visitors. Now alone, he debates removing... (full context)
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Dorian marvels at the science of the transformation he sees, how the brush strokes have not... (full context)
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Lord Henry appears at the door, wishing to see him. He wants to comfort Dorian about Sybil. Dorian suggests that the tragedy has taught him the value of his own... (full context)
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Henry notes that such a scandal is wisely avoided by Dorian. Dorian is too good to be mixed up in such things. Gradually he persuades Dorian... (full context)
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Dorian is still full of grief, but what he seems to be mourning is his own... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Basil arrives at Dorian’s house, and expresses his sympathy for him, and for Sybil Vane and her family. He... (full context)
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At the mention of what is in store for Sybil’s “little white body”, Dorian orders Basil to stop. He says that the incident is over, he has mastered the... (full context)
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Basil is sickened at the idea of Sybil killing herself but Dorian explains the beauty of it, saying that Sybil is now a piece of art herself,... (full context)
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Dorian requests that Basil do a portrait of Sybil. Basil agrees but really wants Dorian to... (full context)
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Dorian asks Basil to trade secrets with him. He asks why Basil refused to exhibit the... (full context)
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Basil explains that when he met Dorian, he was struck by a strange fascination. Dorian became the ideal to which Basil had... (full context)
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...the beauty of the painting and resolved to show it off in a Paris exhibition. Dorian is relieved and feels sorry for Basil. With the secret revealed, Basil expects to see... (full context)
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Basil, set to go home, reaffirms the importance of Dorian and the painting to him, and Dorian reassures him that he sees the confession merely... (full context)
Chapter 10
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With Basil gone, Dorian begins to get suspicious of his servant Victor, imagining him sneaking a glance at the... (full context)
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The master frame-maker tells Dorian that he couldn’t help coming over in person to show him the frame he has... (full context)
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These memories make Dorian long for his youthful soul and detest the relentless aging of the portrait. As he... (full context)
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Dorian inspects the other package from Lord Henry, a book with a yellow cover. As soon... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Over the next years of Dorian’s life, he becomes obsessed with the book about the Parisien. He gets it bound in... (full context)
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Dorian would sometimes disappear from society on mysterious jaunts. Each time he returned to his house,... (full context)
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And Dorian was managing to keep up his place in society. When back from his jaunts, he... (full context)
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In his place in society, Dorian was coming of age into a position of very high status and influence, but he... (full context)
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The narrator describes at length a series of hobbies and fascinations that Dorian takes up to fill his life of leisure. First, is Catholicism. Its idols and luxurious... (full context)
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Dorian’s pursuits move away from religion and philosophy. He becomes obsessed with perfumes, then music, jewels... (full context)
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As his anxiety grows, and his behavior gets stranger, Dorian’s circle of friends becomes more seriously distrustful of him. Rumors abound. He is barred from... (full context)
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Dorian enjoys walking through his rooms and studying the portraits of his ancestors. He enjoys seeing... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Years have passed and Dorian is approaching his thirty-eighth birthday. Walking home from an evening at Henry’s, he sees Basil... (full context)
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Dorian reluctantly invites Basil in, if he promises not to talk about serious things. Despite Dorian’s... (full context)
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Dorian scolds Basil. It is quite the reverse, he claims. It is their own scandalous ways... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Dorian leads Basil to the top of the house. He is smiling with a strange pride... (full context)
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Dorian reminds Basil of the wish he had made on seeing the portrait for the first... (full context)
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Dorian tells Basil it is too late for prayer, he doesn’t believe in the words. Basil... (full context)
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...of Basil’s blood is a horrible drip, drip, drip on the floor of the schoolroom. Dorian goes out, and listens. The house is quiet and dark. He goes back to the... (full context)
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Without looking back, Dorian leaves the room. He thinks the best way to succeed now is not to think... (full context)
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It occurs to Dorian that he has plenty of time to dispose of Basil’s body. He fetches his servant... (full context)
Chapter 14
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In the morning, Dorian is sleeping like a baby when the servant comes in to wake him. He wakes... (full context)
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Dorian dresses carefully, and breakfasts, taking time over everything. He reads his mail, one letter seemingly... (full context)
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Eventually, after much nervous waiting by Dorian, Alan Campbell arrives. Alan was a science scholar and a musician, and he and Dorian... (full context)
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Dorian then writes something on a piece of paper and shows it to Alan. Alan falls... (full context)
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Dorian has tears in his eyes and tells Alan that he has saved his life, but... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The same evening, Dorian, charmingly dressed with violets in his buttonhole, goes calmly to a party held by Lady... (full context)
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Dorian looks around the room and agrees that the guests are an ugly set. He feels... (full context)
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...Henry still spouting his theories. While the other male guests begin a pompous, political discussion, Dorian moves to sit by Lord Henry. Henry talks about the evening they spent together with... (full context)
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Lord Henry changes the subject and asks Dorian why he left so early the previous evening. Dorian treats the question with nervous suspicion.... (full context)
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Afterwards, Dorian is overcome with a craving. He goes to a special cabinet, to a particular drawer... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...river side, where dark public houses and mist from the water create a secretive scene. Dorian remembers Henry’s advice to cure the soul with the senses, and has come to the... (full context)
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Through the foggy, riverside slums, the cab seems to be crawling. Dorian can’t wait to satisfy his craving, and his mind is mad with paranoia and imaginings.... (full context)
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The opium den is full of old, poor objects and sick looking people. Dorian goes straight towards a figure in the shadows and follows it up some stairs and... (full context)
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When inside the room at the end, Dorian sees an old friend, Adrian. Adrian says that he has been shunned by his old... (full context)
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Little does Dorian know he is being followed by a sailor. He hurries along the quay towards another... (full context)
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The sailor announces himself as the brother of Sybil Vane and accuses Dorian of being the man who ruined her. He tells Dorian to pray to his God.... (full context)
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Dorian condescends to him to be careful of his temper. As Jim walks off, a woman... (full context)
Chapter 17
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A week later, Dorian is entertaining the Duchess, her husband, and other elegant guests at his country house. Dorian,... (full context)
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...point that women love with their ears, while men love with their eyes, and accuses Dorian of never really loving. Henry responds that he believes that there are very few good... (full context)
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Dorian goes to fetch some orchids for the Duchess to take home. When he is gone,... (full context)
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Dorian is put on a sofa and comes round, realizing where he is. Henry assures him... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The sight of James Vane tortures Dorian the next day. Every sound and sight seems to suggest his coming doom. He convinces... (full context)
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Three days after the sighting, Dorian manages to go outside. He has survived his doubts and fears and is surprisingly refreshed... (full context)
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Lord Henry suggests they all go home and avoid more of a scene. Dorian is obsessed that the incident is a bad omen. Henry assures him that there is... (full context)
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Henry praises the woman for her flirtatiousness, suggesting that her and Dorian’s shared love of danger makes them a good match. Dorian regrets that he cannot even... (full context)
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With Dorian gone, Henry asks the Duchess about her feelings for Dorian. She isn’t sure how she... (full context)
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Just then, the head keeper of Dorian’s grounds comes to see him, to ask Dorian about the man who has been killed.... (full context)
Chapter 19
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After a stay in the country, Dorian comes back to London and tells Henry he has resolved to be a good person.... (full context)
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Henry asks Dorian to play the piano for him. His wife recently left him for a pianist, he... (full context)
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Dorian asks Henry how he would react if he told him that he had murdered Basil.... (full context)
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Lord Henry tells Dorian to lighten up and play him a song on the piano. Henry is full of... (full context)
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Dorian maintains that he will alter his ways, but Henry does not listen and suggests they... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Dorian walks home. Through the streets of London, he remembers the places he has been and... (full context)
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Dorian picks up a mirror that Henry gave him once, and remembers the words of an... (full context)
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Full of hope for this new possibility, Dorian rushes upstairs to the picture. As he removes the cloth, the old terror returns, full... (full context)
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In a frenzy, Dorian grabs the murder-weapon. He wants to kill the painting that has destroyed his life. As... (full context)