This month’s Creepy Classic is Oscar Wilde’s bizarre tale, The Picture of Dorian Gray. As strange as this book was, it certainly kept me entertained at every page. Wilde explores the concept of a few deadly sins in his creepy story. Dorian Gray, the main character, is cursed with one of the most well-known deadly sins, Vanity.
From the first few pages I was drawn into Wilde’s clever dialogue. In the beginning, Wilde introduced two main characters. First was Basil; a talented artist who covets his latest muse, Dorian Gray. When depicting Basil’s personality, he writes with fevered passion about Basil’s attraction to Dorian. Lord Henry is quite another character. If Dorian Gray is riddled with the sin of vanity, then I dare say, Lord Henry effortlessly symbolized another sin, Envy. Both Basil and Henry are smitten by the likes of Dorian Gray; the young, rich and beautiful bachelor. Basil viewed him as living art; an inspiration for his greatest work. Lord Henry saw Dorian as a science project, identifying ways to poison his mind.
One of Dorian’s many character flaws is his weak mind. Because he often lacks an original thought, he falls victim to Lord Henry’s influence and soon becomes as callous as his friend, Lord Henry. Basil sees how Lord Henry’s influence corrupts Dorian in the beginning. He begs both of his friends to take care, but soon Basil’s own insecurities gets himself thrown to the waste side. But before parting, Basil gives Dorian his greatest masterpiece; a portrait of Dorian Gray, one painted to perfection. When Dorian first sees the portrait, he becomes jealous of its beauty, knowing that as time passes on, he will grow old and the painting will remain timeless or young, rather. It was Lord Henry that suggested that notion to Dorian. And from that point on, Dorian became obsessed with the portrait. So much so, he reverently prayed that instead of him aging, he begged that the painting age and that he keep his youth.
However vain it was, it was a simple request. One, he never thought a moment more about, until he began to notice changes in the image. The portrait altered whenever Dorian acted in poor taste. Under Lord Henry’s influence, Dorian’s dormant, sadistic mind flourished. And from that moment, Dorian began living his life with little consequence, treating people wickedly and living life for his pleasure only. He could care less, of course, since he had his beauty – that is all that seems to matter.
Not too longer after, Dorian saw the errors in his judgment but only when he glances at his marred picture. It’s as if he’s staring into his own conscious and it warps his brain, making him insane towards the end of the book. I won’t spoil the classic story for you. I’ve relayed too much already. If you want to know what happens to the vain gentleman, Dorian Gray – you’ll have to read for yourself. Yes, it’s that good.
Wilde created a timeless piece of fiction when he wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray. On the Mina Burrows KilloMeter, I give The Picture of Dorian Gray a 4.
Until next time, if you looking for something to read, try a Creepy Classic.