Free Study Guide for The Picture of Dorian Gray: Book Summary |
He walks through the poverty-stricken streets of London for a long time. Then he gets back to his room, recently redecorated since he learned to appreciate luxury from Lord Henry. He is undressing when he happens to glance at the portrait. He is taken aback to notice a change in it. Lines around the mouth have appeared. The face has a cruel expression. He turns on the lights and looks at it more carefully, but nothing changes the look of cruelty on the face. He remembers what he said in Basilís studio the day he saw it for the first time. He had wished to change places with it, staying young forever while it aged with time and experience. He knows that the sin he committed against Sibyl that evening had caused him to age. He realizes that the portrait will always be an emblem of his conscience from now on. He dresses quickly and hurries toward Sibylís house. As he hurries to her, a faint feeling of his love for her returns to him.
The climax of the novel occurs in this chapter. Dorian takes his friends to see Sibylís fine acting and is embarrassed by her dreadful acting. Even when she tells him she has lost her talent for acting because she loves him and thinks only of him, he doesnít soften toward her. He lets her sob and he leaves her coldly. The consequences of this sin of the heart is that Dorian Gray ages. However, it is not he that ages, but his portrait. Here, Oscar Wilde plays with the notion that art imitates life. When Dorian first saw his portrait, he wished for its timelessness. He wished he could change places with art, living the timelessness of art, and letting the portrait age and wither. In this climax chapter, that reversal seems to happen. Whether the reader is supposed to think of this as Dorianís guilty conscience projected onto the portrait or a depiction of magic is unclear at this point. The reader has to wait to find out if any other character besides Dorian will see the change in the portrait.
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. 09 May 2017