Chapter 1 Summary:
The story begins in an art studio, in which Lord Henry Wotton admires the soon to be finished masterpiece by painter Basil Hallward, of a young man soon learnt to be a portrait of the beautiful Dorian Gray. Henry urges him to exhibit the painting at Grosvenor but Basil detests, insisting he has shown in it the secret of his own soul. Basil explains to Henry how he met Dorian Gray, at an upper class crush at Lady Brandon’s and fascinated by Dorian’s countenance ( like Nick to Gatsby ) they become friends. As with most gothic fiction, there is a romantic and somewhat homosexual undertone to the relationship between Basil and Dorian, with Dorian showing such fascination in Dorian’s beauty while Dorian doesn’t treat him the best. As they finish talking, Dorian arrives to the studio, and despite Basil’s urges not to, Henry wishes to meet him.
“In the center of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward…”
“I had a strange feeling that Fate had in store for me exquisite joys and exquisite sorrows.” -Basil
Chapter 2 Summary:
Dorian arrives and meets Henry, then sits on a platform to pose for Basil’s painting so he can finish it. Soon after while Basil completes some touch ups, Henry tries to convince Dorian to appreciate his youth and beauty while he still can, explaining that once he ages, his face will become wrinkled and his figure deformed. Once the painting is now finished, Basil presents it to his two friends and while staring at his flawless counterpart Dorian begins to ruminate about what Henry had spoken about. Whilst Basil is giving the painting to him, he is envious that the painting will remain youthful while he grows old, wishing that it was the other way round. He selfishly claims that ‘youth is the only thing worth having. When I find that I am growing old, I shall kill myself.’ Dorian breaks down in tears and just as Basil is about to destroy the painting, Dorian detests, claiming that it’s a part of himself. Henry and Dorian eventually leave together to see a movie.
“Then had come Lord Henry Wotton with his strange panegyric on youth, his terrible warning of its brevity. That had stirred him at the time, and now, as he stood gazing at the shadow of his own loveliness, the full reality of the description flashed across him.”
“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June… If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture to always grow old! For that – for that – I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!” -Dorian
“…walked over, cup in hand, to the picture. ‘I shall stay with the real Dorian,’…” -Basil
Chapter 3 Summary:
While chatting with his uncle, Lord Fermor, Henry learns of Dorian’s parentage. He learns that his mother was of upper class and she loved a poor peasant man much to Dorian’s grandfather Kelso’s disapproval. Kelso sends a Belgian brute to duel Dorian’s father at a club, after which his father dies. Soon after Dorian’s mother died within a year, leaving her son, an orphan with immense wealth inherited by both his grandfather and mother. After various debates occur during Aunt Agatha’s lunch party (guests include the Duchess of Harley, Sir Thomas Burdon (a politician), and Mr. Erskine (some kind of intellectual)), Henry and Dorian head to the park.
“She was an extraordinarily beautiful girl, Margaret Devereux; and made all the men frantic by running away with a penniless young fellow… poor chap was killed in a duel at Spa, a few months after the marriage… girl died too: died within a year. So she left a son…”
Chapter 4 Summary:
While at Henry’s house, Dorian and Henry discuss women and how Dorian has found the love of his life, an actress, Sibyl Vane. Dorian raves over Sybil’s acting talents and of her numerous diverse roles in local Shakespeare plays. Dorian plans to free her from a three- year contract with a money- grubby jew. Dorian invites Henry, as well as Basil, to see Sybil as Juliet (in Romeo & Juliet) during dinner. While dressing for the occasion, Henry receives a telegram from Dorian, who reveals he’s engaged to be married to Sybil.
“How different he was from the shy, frightened boy he had met in Basil Hallward’s studio! His nature had developed like a flower, had borne blossoms of scarlet flame. Out of it’s secret hiding place had crept his Soul, and Desire had come to meet it on the way.”
“I am a little jealous of the picture for being a whole month younger than I am, I must admit I delight in it.” -Dorian
Chapter 5 Summary:
The plot now focuses on Sybil Vane (17) and her family, discussing finances, her brother Jim’s (16) soon trip to Australia and debate on whether her ‘Prince Charming’ (Sybil chooses not to reveal his name) is suitable for her (as she had been arranged to marry another, and they feel he is too much a gentleman, with immense wealth and therefore may wrong her, as she is poor). Jim despises the idea of Sybil marrying Dorian, threatening to kill him if he wrongs her.
” ‘…Prince Charming rules life for us now’… A rose shook in her blood, and shadowed her cheeks. Quick breath parted the petals of her lips. They trembled. Some southern wind of passion swept over her, and stirred the dainty folds of her dress.”
Chapter 6 Summary:
Henry reveals to Basil about the proposal before Dorian arrives late to escort them to Sybil’s play for dinner. Basil cannot bear the marriage, perhaps because he’s jealous of the love & attention Dorian gives to Sybil. Henry complains about women, claiming that they inspire but prevent masterpieces being made, therefore insulting Dorian’s engagement. Henry and Dorian drive to the play in a two wheeled carriage while Basil follows close by, alone.
“Pleasure is the only thing worth having a theory about… But I am afraid I cannot claim my theory as my own. It belongs to Nature, not to me. Pleasure is Nature’s test, her sign of approval. When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.” -Henry
“He drove off by himself, as had been arranged… A strange sense of loss came over him. He felt that Dorian Gray would never again be to him all that he had been in the past. Life had come between them… When the cab drew up at the theater, it seemed to him that he had grown years older.”
Chapter 7 Summary:
The trio arrives at the play, awaiting Sybil’s anticipated performance, Dorian craving to prove the other two wrong about her. Sybil’s performance however is dreadful and as a result Dorian is frustrated that Henry and Basil’s opinions of the girl remain unchanged due to her mediocre performance. Dorian, after finishing viewing the third act whilst surrounded by empty benches, rushes to see Sybil backstage. Sybil claims to have gotten sick of her arts as a result of this newfound love for Dorian, which has released her from this prison. Because of Sybil not caring for her performances any longer, Dorian is enraged by her sudden revelations, only loving her for her talents. Dorian leaves her alone and weeping tears of sorrow. Upon returning home, Dorian studies the painting of himself, realising his expression has been altered. The cursed man now realizes that the wish to have the painting age as opposed to himself has possibly become a reality. A wave of regret eventually passes over him, realising the painting may age with each sin he makes, he seeks to find forgiveness in Sybil for his previous outburst.
“The voice was exquisite, but from the point of view of tone it was absolutely false. It was wrong in colour… She seemed to be absolutely incompetent. They were horribly disappointed.”
“The secret of remaining young is never to have an emotion that is unbecoming”
“I became conscious that the Romeo was hideous, and old, and painted, that the moonlight in the orchard was false, that the scenery was vulgar, and that the worlds I had to speak were unreal, were not my words, were not what I wanted to say. You had brought me something higher, something of which all art is but a reflection.”
“A low moan broke from her, and she flung herself at his feet, and lay there like a trampled flower.”
“The expression looked different. One would have said that there was a touch of cruelty in the mouth. It was certainly strange.”
“But the picture? What was he to say of that? It held the secret of his life, and told his story. It had taught him to love his beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul? Would he ever look at it again? No; it was merely an illusion wrought on the troubled senses. The horrible night that he had passed had left phantoms behind it.”
Chapter 8 Summary:
The next day, Dorian’s valet Victor wakes Dorian up late in the afternoon. Dorian, curious to know if his theorizing about the painting the previous night was true, lifts the screen off of the picture and discovers that the altered expression still remains and it was true. He receives a bunch of letters, opening all but Lord Henry’s and when Henry shows up at his door to check on him, he tells him that the letter contained shocking news. Sybil Vane is dead. Henry tells Dorian that Sybil had left the theater with her mother, said she left something and went back and after a while her mother visited her dressing room to find that she had died by swallowing an object containing prussic acid (cyanide) and was poisoned, therefore had committed suicide. Henry tries to make Dorian not feel so bad, he tries to persuade Dorian into believing the marriage wouldn’t have worked out anyways, that it was a marvelous Shakespearean tragedy that should be admired and that he was jealous for the fact that no woman would kill herself for the love of him. Although Dorian believes the painting has frightened him into retaining positive morals about his body image, he still wishes not to age, mentioning “But suppose, Harry, I become haggard, and old, and wrinkled? What then?” indicating that he still hasn’t learnt his lesson. After Henry leaves Dorian returns to studying the portrait, realising that this could be a good thing, that he could retain eternal youth with infinite passion and pleasure while the portrait bears the hideousness of his soul and shame of his wish to forever remain youthful. He then leaves to watch the opera with Henry and his sister.
“Dorian… my letter – don’t be frightened – was to tell you that Sibyl Vane is dead.” -Henry
“He felt that the time had really come to make his choice. Or had his choice already been made? Yes, life had decided that for him -life, and his own infinite curiosity about life. Eternal youth, infinite passion, pleasure subtle and secret, wild joys and wilder sins – he was to have all these things. The portrait was to bear the burden of his shame: that was all.”
“The portrait would be to him the most magical of mirrors. As it had revealed to him his own body, so it would reveal to him his own soul.”
Chapter 9 Summary:
Basil visits Dorian the next morning. Dorian clearly favors Henry over Basil and as Basil tries to snap him out of this fixed theory that Sybil’s death was a beautiful form of art and dismisses any attempts by Basil, claiming he shouldn’t be mad that he was too late to give advice (as Henry had the day before). Basil wishes to see his painting, but Dorian furiously disagrees, fearful of him seeing his terrible secret. Dorian begin to really panic when basil reveals that he wishes for his work to be exhibited in Paris. Basil confesses his confession with Dorian, admitting to have painted him as “Paris”, the handsome son of the Trojan King, in dainty armor, and other personas. Basil previously felt he put too much of himself into the painting and by exhibiting it he would reveal his secret (possibly homosexuality). Basil’s ideologies however have now changed, now believing that “art conceals the artist far more completely than it ever reveals him”, therefore choosing to accept the Paris exhibition offer. Though agreeing to reveal his secret if Basil reveals his, he manages to wrestle the secret from Basil without revealing his own. Basil leaves, while Dorian contemplates hiding the portrait from easy access by friends.
“I was a schoolboy when you knew me. I am a man now. I have new passions, new thoughts, new ideas. I am different, but you must not like me less.I am changed, but you must always be my friend. Of course I am very fond of Harry. But I know that you are better than he is.”
Chapter 10 Summary:
Dorian decides to hide the painting in the old schoolroom. As he is about to move it, he replaces the screen with a couch cover and quickly glimpses the painting and is relieved to find it hadn’t changed since last time he checked. Suddenly the servant bursts in the room, informing Dorian that the frame makers have arrived, as requested by Dorian shortly beforehand. The frame makers carry the rather heavy painting up to the old school room and once the painting is inside, Dorian locks the schoolroom and feels safe and relieved. The portrait lives in the old schoolroom where Dorian spent considerable time in as a little boy, therefore various mementos bring him back to childhood. This is ironic as the portrait is hidden from sight to become hideous and old, while surrounded by a youthful environment. Henry sends Dorian a note about Sybil’s inquest (which Dorian tears up in disgust) and a philosophical book which he becomes invested in, reading for so long that he arrives late when meeting Henry at the club.
“The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable. There were passions in him that would find their terrible outlet, dreams hat would make the shadow of their evil real.”
“… he unlocked the door that opened into the room that was to keep for him the curious secret of his life and hide his soul from the eyes of men.”
Chapter 11 Summary:
Years pass with Dorian infatuated with this book, buying several first edition copies. He also visits the now always aging portrait of himself along with a mirror, to receive pleasure in the horrid contrast. As many men admire his youth throughout the years, Dorian studies religion, medieval history, perfumes, music and jewels. He now hangs the painting with the purple and gold pall as a curtain to conceal it when he doesn’t visit it and puts bars on the door. He hates being separated from the picture, having a strong passion for protecting it from others who wish to reveal his secret. Other men begin to suspect his secret when he remains unchanged and ever so youthful after his 25th birthday passes.
“… he himself would creep upstairs to the locked room, open the door with the key that never left him now, and stand, with a mirror, in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him, looking now at the evil and ageing face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that laughed back at him from the polished glass. The very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his sense of pleasure.”
“He hated to be separated from the picture that was such a part of life, and was also afraid that during his absence someone might gain access to the room, in spite of the elaborate bars that he had caused to be placed upon the door.”
“It was true that the portrait still preserved, under all the foulness and ugliness of the face, its marked likeness to himself.”
“Sometimes when he was down at his great house… he would suddenly leave his guests and rush back to town to see that the door had not been tampered with, and that the picture was still there. What if it should be stolen? The mere thought made him cold with horror.”
Chapter 12 and 13 Summary:
On his 38th birthday, while walking home from Lord Henry’s, runs into Basil who is about to head to Paris for 6 months to complete a painting and insists on speaking serious matters with Dorian for at least half an hour, to Dorian’s disliking. He informs Dorian of the dreadful rumors circulating about him in London. People, even those who used to be lose friends of Dorian, now despise him. Basil claims Dorian has had a bad and fatal influence on others (whilst uttering his curse, Dorian mentions that he would give everything, and there’s nothing in the world he wouldn’t give, meaning his close friends are sacrificed for eternal youth, as they are cursed). His previous friends now all lead terrible and misfortune lives (one commits suicide). Basil demands to see Dorian’s soul and that he changes his malevolent ways. Dorian then happily invites him to see the painting he had so longingly kept a secret, and his diary. Dorian shows Basil into the old schoolroom, revealing the horrid painting, to Basil’s displeasure. Basil knows for certain that this is the same one he painted. Basil listens with curious discomfort, Dorian’s explanation about the painting, and uncovers the truth behind the beauty he has been devoted to for years. Now Basil is disgusted by Dorian, now urging him to pray for his sins. Suddenly a wave of hatred and rage hits Dorian and he grabs a nearby knife he had left prior and violently stabs Basil again and again, killing him brutally. He quickly thinks about how to hide the evidence to cover up the murder, first lying to his valet.
“…I don’t believe these rumors at all. At least I can’t believe them when I see you, sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed.” -Basil
“You shall see it yourself, tonight! …Come I tell you. You have chattered enough about corruption. Now you shall look on it face to face.” -Dorian
“I was wrong, it had destroyed me.” -Dorian
Chapter 14 Summary:
Dorian tries to forget or at least put the murder of Basil in the back of his mind, but struggles to do so, as he does feel much remorse. He tries to get a hold of Alan Campbell, a smart and chemical savvy old friend of his, to remove the dead body from the old schoolroom. After letting Campbell inside, in a moment of panic, Dorian reveals he murdered Basil and that it wasn’t suicide as previously mentioned, in order to increase possibility of Campbell destroying the body. Campbell is still stubborn to submit to Dorian’s demands resulting in blackmail. Dorian threatens to send a letter to Campbell’s address if he doesn’t comply, this thought making Campbell sick and forcing him to do the deed. Dorian sends his servant to run an errand to get rid of all possible witnesses. Dorian almost reveals his secret, as for once in years, he had failed to cover the painting. He notices that the portrait looks strikingly more grotesque, significant enough to be more horrid than the dead body slumped in the chair. He covers the portrait with the curtain and shows Campbell inside for him to begin his work. Hours later Campbell tells Dorian he is finished and that he doesn’t want to see Dorian ever again. Dorian enters the old schoolroom to find the pungent odor of nitric acid had replaced the dead body. Dorian feels safe.
“Your life? Good heavens! what a life it is! You have gone from corruption to corruption, and now you have culminated in crime. In doing what I am going to do, what you force me to do, it is not of your life that I am thinking.” -Alan
Chapter 15 Summary:
Dorian leaves that night to a party at one of his only friends Lady Narborough’s house, along with Henry. Henry questions why Dorian left so early the day before and Dorian lies, saying he was walking about, as opposed to murdering Basil. Dorian leaves the party & returns home to set fire to the rest of the evidence, which he’d forgotten to dispose of (Basil’s coat and bag).
“Things that were dangerous had to be destroyed… he opened the secret press into which he had thrust Basil Hallward’s coat and bag.”
Chapter 16 Summary:
Dorian leaves at midnight that same day, to Limehouse (a slum district associated with opium dens & gambling) in order to try forget and rid himself of guilt. He enters a bar, where he meets with Adrian Singleton to chat briefly. He comes across two women, one of which was his lover many years ago and he is forced to bribe to not talk to him. Whilst leaving, the woman calls him ‘the devils bargain’ and ‘Prince Charming’ alerting the attention of a James Vane, sister of Sybil, whom had killed herself due to Dorian leaving her prior in the novel. James corners him in an alleyway and holds him at gunpoint, Dorian however manages to escape by allowing him to hold a lantern up to his youthful face and see for himself that he cannot be in his late 30’s like Sibyl Vane would be now and that he isn’t the man who caused the death of his sister. The woman in the bar shortly afterwards confronts the man and tells him that Dorian is the man he is looking for and that he has made a deal with the devil for eternal youth but before James can kill Dorian, he has escaped.
“To cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul.” -Henry quoted by Dorian
“… dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.”
“The moon hung low in the sky like a yellow skull. From time to time a huge misshapen cloud stretched a long arm across and hid it.” pg 146 of chapter 16
Chapter 17 Summary:
A week later Dorian is at a tea party with the Duchess of Monmouth and her husband, at a conservatory, along with Lord Henry. This chapter is very dialogue heavy, as they are discussing various topics at a fast and uninterrupted pace. They finish their discussion when Dorian faints after seeing James Vane’s face pressed against the glass of the conservatory.
“Ugliness is one of the seven deadly virtues” -Henry
“… from the far end of the conservatory came a stifled groan, followed by the dull sound of a heavy fall… Lord Henry rushed through the flapping palms to find Dorian Gray lying face downwards on the tiled floor in a death like swoon.”
Chapter 18 Summary:
Fearful of James Vane succeeding in his vengeful plan, Dorian cowers in his room. After two days, he decides to go out with Lord Henry to the Duchess’ place again, to watch Geoffrey Clouston (Duchess’ brother) practice shooting. Geoffrey draws on a hare, and Dorian immediately screams not to shoot, ignoring this, Geoffrey shoots anyway, but a man walks through the crossfire and is killed, as well as the hare. After a nervous Dorian expresses that he has an uneasy feeling that Death wishes to hunt him down, he shockingly discovers from the head keeper that the dead man was James Vane, who was about to kill him until the accident occurred. Dorian now feels safe, as he is no longer being hunted.
“Life had suddenly become too hideous a burden for him to bear. The dreadful death of the unlucky beater, shot in the thicket like a wild animal, had seemed to him to prefigure death for himself also.”
“The man who had been shot in the thicket was James Vane… he rode home, his eyes were full of tears, for he knew he was safe.”
Chapter 19 & 20 Summary:
Dorian reveals he had met a beautiful girl but like Sybil, he had left her recently, believing he made a good action for the first time in years. Henry contradicts him, claiming that by dumping the poor girl he’d committed yet another sin, causing Dorian to get slightly angry at him. During this discussion it is also revealed that Alan Campbell committed suicide, possibly due to guilt and pressure for having to conceal the secret about Basil’s murder, leaving another cursed friend of Dorian’s dead. Another thing Henry brings up in this discussion is that he is in progress of divorce, his ex wife Victoria having run away with another man which perhaps explain why he speaks so bitterly of women. This further evidences that all of Dorian’s close associates now lead terrible lives due to Dorian’s pledge to “give everything” for eternal youth. They discuss Basil’s now heavily publicized death, Dorian even hinting to Henry that he murdered him, though Henry doesn’t believe in the idea. Henry urges Dorian to reveal how he maintained youth and explains that he would trade places with him, have no aged appearance and to be “perfect” like Dorian, indicating just how oblivious Henry is to Dorian’s cruel and heartless demeanor. Henry offers Dorian to come to the club with him, which he kindly rejects. Dorian visits the old schoolroom, breaking the mirror which Henry had gifted him because he is shameful and disgusted with his youth. Hopeful for a new life, Dorian decides to look upon the painting, to see if the grotesque ugliness had been reversed in even the slightest way, due to him sparing Hetty Merton’s (the girl he’d dumped recently) innocence. He looks upon the still loathsome painting, crying out in aguish whilst peering at the unchanged horror. After contemplating confessing the murder of Basil to the world, he switches his mind to wishing to conceal his secret and Dorian decides to destroy the horrid painting, as it’s the only evidence against him. He stabs the painting with the same knife he used to murder Basil and Dorian lets out a loud shrill cry. This then alerts people to enter the old schoolroom and they find Dorian and the painting had swapped places, a dead Dorian now withered, wrinkled and loathsome of visage.
“… he knew that he had tarnished himself, filled his mind with corruption and given horror to his fancy; that he had been an evil influence to others, and had experienced a terrible joy in being so; and that of the lives that had crossed his own it had been the fairest and the most full of promise that he had brought to shame.”
“The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
“His beauty had been to him but a mask, his youth but a mockery.”
“Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was.”
“Like the painting of a sorrow. A face without a heart.” quote from hamlet pg 170 of chapter 19
“What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose… his own soul.” -Henry
Descriptor 1: Distinct Contrasting Qualities: Dorian is both intelligent and wise but foolish and naive for wishing to have the painting age as opposed to himself. Dorian both chooses to neglect and be disgusted by the painting, being frightened by its appearance, but also wishes to protect and be thankful for the painting. While watching Geoffrey about to shoot a hare, Dorian immediately detests, screaming “Don’t shoot it, Geoffrey. Let it live,” showing empathy. However this contrasts with the fact that just days before he had chosen to murder Basil, a just as innocent man, in brutal and careless manner showing that Dorian is very cruel, but does have sympathy, more evidence showing that he does experience guilt and sympathy is when he had “… become suddenly colder. Oh! in what a wild hour of madness he had killed his friend! How ghastly the mere memory of the scene! He saw it all again. Each hideous detail came back to him with added horror.”.
“Why did you paint it? It will mock me someday -mock me horribly!” then shortly afterwards Dorian says “Appreciate it? I am in love with it, Basil. It is part of myself. I feel that.” – bottom of page 25 of chapter 2
“For weeks he would not go there, would forget the hideous painted thing, and get back his light heart…” “… he would suddenly leave his guests and rush back to town to see that the, to see that the door had not been tampered with, and the picture was still there. What if it should be stolen? The mere thought made him cold with horror.” -bottom of page 112 of chapter 11
Descriptor 2: Upper Class: Dorian is definitely upper class, having inherited wealth from his mother Margaret and grandfather Kelso and lives in a mansion with a personal valet.
“He should have a pot of money waiting for him if Kelso did the right thing by him. His mother had money too. All the Selby property came to her, through her grandfather.” – Lord Fermor page 29 of chapter 3
Descriptor 3: Foreshadowed by something negative: Dorian wishes to give everything, even his soul, to have the painting age instead of himself, this wish eventually becoming true. Towards the end of the novel, Dorian senses an omen, and that he Death will find him soon which foreshadows his eventual death at the end of the novel.
“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June… If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture to always grow old! For that – for that – I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!” -Dorian Gray page 24 of chapter 2
“It is a bad omen, Harry. I feel as if something horrible were going to happen to some of us. To myself, perhaps.” -Dorian page 160 of chapter 18
“I have no terror of death. It is the coming of Death that terrifies me. Its monstrous wings seem to wheel in the leaden air around me.” -Dorian pg 161 of chapter 18
“This unfortunate accident has upset me. I have a horrible presentiment that something of the kind may happen to me.” -Dorian pg 162 of chapter 18
Descriptor 4: Driven by passion and strong emotions as opposed to logical reasoning:
Descriptor 5: Generally secretive or is surrounded by an air of mystery: Dorian at first chooses not to share to his friends that the painting is aging as opposed to himself.
“The knocking still continued, and grew louder. Yes, it was better to let Lord Henry in, and to explain to him the new life he was going to lead… He jumped up, drew the screen hastily across the picture, and unlocked the door.” page 78 of chapter 8
“People talk sometimes of secret vices, there are no such things. If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids…” page 119 if chapter 12
Descriptor 6: Has an innate sense of curiosity or a need to know: Dorian, after coming to the possible conclusion the night before that the painting is changing, decides to check if his theory is true the next morning due to his urge to know the truth. Another example of Dorian displaying curiosity is when he urges Basil to tell him the truth about why he chose not to exhibit the painting at first, managing to get Basil to spill his secret without revealing his own secret about the painting’s altered expression as promised, in order to satisfy his need to know. Wilde describes curiosity as a being which must be fed to be satisfied and once fed its hunger only grows greater as the thirst for knowledge becomes greater.
“Why not let it stay there? What was the use of knowing? If the thing was true, it was terrible. If it was not true, why trouble about it?… He got up and locked both doors…. Then he drew the screen aside, and saw himself face to face. It was perfectly true. The portrait had altered.” rhetorical questions on page 77 of chapter 8
” ‘No Basil, you must tell me… I think I have a right to know’ His feeling of terror had passed away and curiosity had taken its place.” page 91 and 92 of chapter 9
“That curiosity about life which Lord Henry had first stirred in him, as they sat together in the garden of their friend, seemed to increase with gratification. the more he knew, the more he desired to know. He had mad hungers that grew more ravenous as he fed them.” – page 103 of chapter 11
“Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.” -Henry page 162 of chapter 18