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Free Study Guide for The Picture of Dorian Gray: Book Summary


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1. Describe the character of Basil Hallward. How is he an artist figure and how is he a moral figure in the novel?

2. Describe the character of Lord Henry Wotton. How does he exert his influence on Dorian Gray?

3. Trace the changes that occur in the portrait over time. How does Wilde make the reader feel that the portrait is in fact magical and not just a figment of Dorian Gray’s imagination?

4. Choose one of the aphorisms of the Preface and find textual support for it in the novel. Is the aphorism borne out or is it disproven by the novel?

5. Examine the female characters in the novel. How do they illustrate Lord Henry’s misogyny (women hating)? Does the novel support that misogyny or just give voice to it?

6. Write a definition of aestheticism and apply it to the triangular relationship among Lord Henry, Basil Hallward, and Dorian Gray.

7. What is Dorian Gray’s past? How does his past influence his behavior in life?

8. Examine the normative world of the novel, the world of the people who form the mainstream of the aristocrats. Are there any of its representatives who stands as a positive character?

9. Analyze Oscar Wilde’s use of class divisions in his plot line. How does the class difference between Sibyl Vane and Dorian Gray function in working out of the plot?

10. Trace the idea of life as art which Dorian Gray lives out. What are the ways Dorian Gray makes art of his life?

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The Picture of Dorian Gray: Free BookNotes Plot Summary

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