Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Irish poet and dramatist whose reputation rests on his comic masterpieces Lady Windermere's
Fan(1892) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). Among Wilde's other best-known
works are his only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray(1891) and his fairy tales especially "The
Wilde was born on October 16, 1854 in Dublin to unconventional parents. In 1878 Wilde
received his B.A. and in the same year he moved to London. His lifestyle and humorous wit
soon made him the spokesman for Aestheticism, the late 19th century movement in England
that advocated art for art's sake. Between the years 1883 and 1884 he lectured in Britain.
From the mid-1880s he was a regular contributor for Pall Mall Gazette and Dramatic View. In
1884 Wilde married Constance Lloyd. Wilde's marriage ended in 1893. He had met an few
years earlier Lord Alfred Douglas, an athlete and a poet, who became both the love of the
author's life and his downfall.
Although married and the father of two children, Wilde's personal life was open to rumors.
His years of triumph ended dramatically, when his intimate association with Alfred Douglas
led to his trial on charges of homosexuality (then illegal in Britain). He was sentenced to two
years hard labor for the crime of sodomy. Wilde was first in Wandsworth prison, London, and
then in Reading Gaol. During this time he wrote De Profundis (1905), a dramatic monologue
and autobiography, which was addressed to Alfred Douglas.
After his release in 1897 Wilde in Berneval, near Dieppe. He wrote "The Ballad of Reading
Gaol", revealing his concern for inhumane prison conditions. Wilde died of cerebral
meningitis on November 30, 1900, penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel at the age of 46.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
A plot began with meeting of Lord Henry and young, handsome Dorian Gray. Their common
friend was Basil Hallward, who loved Dorian’s portrait and who had found a long searched
muse in him. For Basil it was the best work he had ever done. Basil was shocked when Dorian
said to him that he could never look at this picture again. It had a reason, Dorian is jealous of
this picture. He knew that the picture would be always same, but he would be older and older,
meanwhile the body would have the laugh of him. At that time he wanted for the first time to
be just like that stature in a picture. He wished to be young forever.
Dorian and Lord Henry became very good friends. But Lord Henry was very depraved.
Dorian’s a little bit naive, unstained and young view at the life was rapidly changed. They say
the life is only about a beauty, which is most important, and that is why Henry advised him to
be young the longest time possible. Dorian’s soul was struggling with weird and scary inside
disputes about what is and what is not right. Dorian found a solace and an innocent in
beautiful and young actress, Sibyl vane, who he fall in love with and he depended entirely on
her. But she was wholly elated by their one another’s love, so that she didn’t want to live her
characters in drama, but her own life. Dorian was disappointed by her change and he left her
with a scorn. Next day Dorian got to know that she had committed a suicide. He was
overwhelmed, but Henry was the reason, why he fastly forgot.
He was becoming cruel, impassive and scary. It was also for the first time he found out that
there was something bad going on with his own portrait. The portrait was becoming a view on
his awesome soul and it was just like the reflection in the mirror, but there was one y big
difference. It was showing his scary inside, not just the body’s reflection. All bad what he had
done was written (noticed) in his face. Dorian decided to hide his portrait, so that nobody
could see it. Dorian was having the laugh of his portrait which was continually becoming
older and older. There was something weird because he was still as handsome and old as
when the portrait had been made. His life was becoming more and more cruel, carefree,
unprincipled, impassive and groundless. Dorian was using his beauty to make people trust
him. They believed that somebody, whose face was so beautiful, couldn’t be as cruel,
bottomless and disgraceful. The years went by but he was still young.
After 18 years Basil visited Dorian in his seat for a chat. He wanted to tell Dorian which bad
things he had heard about him. They say Dorian had been meeting with bad people, or good
people were changed after some time they had spent with him. Dorian had always longed for
telling him the truth, so, he showed him his portrait. Basil was scared. Dorian had been firstly
ashamed and had cried, but then he began to suspect Basil for all what had happened. In the
end of their fight he killed him. He took advantage of his former friend and disposed of the
Basil’s dead body.
At that time Dorian was struggling with his own remorse and with first symptoms of sorrow.
He was trying to forget and that was why he was trying to hide his fear in opium. In one of the
opium houses he was recognized by Mister Vane, who was Sibyl’s brother and he had
promised himself to revenge her. Vane was pursuing Dorian, but he was by mistake killed.
Dorian relieved himself, but simultaneously he felt the desire to change himself. In order that
he didn’t take advantage of one girl, so that he thought the picture could be nicer, but he had
been wrong. The picture was even more repellent and scarier. How Henry had said, Dorian
could not change himself and all he would do would be even more selfish and bad. The figure
at the portrait was stained with blood, because of a murder of Basil and that is why he decided
to destroy a portrait, which was his last link with a past. He stabbed the portrait and at that
time the servants heard a loud scream. When they entered never used door, they found a
portrait in original state, how Basil had drawn him, and next to the stand was an old man with
a dagger in his heart and with a frightening face. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of
visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was.
I like Oscar Wilde very much. All his work makes me think about his life and what kind of
person he was. I don’t read very often and I know it is my shortcoming, but if I find some
time, I always read some kind of the stories which are similar with work of Oscar Wilde. I
like scary, weird, mysterious and smart works. That is why I read also Edgar Allan Poe and
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If I should think about who Dorian Gray was, it would take a long
time and I would never find the answer. It was a person, who didn’t know what is good and
what is bad. Is it his fault or fatal mistake of our society? I don’t know indeed, but I know that
it is good that it is just character of the book, because I would like not meet that kind of a
… The thing was still loathsome--more loathsome, if possible, than before--and the scarlet dew that spotted the
hand seemed brighter, and more like blood newly spilled. Then he trembled. Had it been merely vanity that had
made him do his one good deed? Or the desire for a new sensation, as Lord Henry had hinted, with his mocking
Or that passion to act a part that sometimes makes us do things finer than we are ourselves? Or, perhaps, all
these? And why was the red stain larger than it had been? It seemed to have crept like a horrible disease over
the wrinkled fingers. There was blood on the painted feet, as though the thing had dripped--blood even on the
hand that had not held the knife. Confess? Did it mean that he was to confess?
To give himself up and be put to death? He laughed. He felt that the idea was monstrous. Besides, even if he did
confess, who would believe him? There was no trace of the murdered man anywhere. Everything belonging to
him had been destroyed. He himself had burned what had been below-stairs. The world would simply say that he
They would shut him up if he persisted in his story. . . . Yet it was his duty to confess, to suffer public shame, and
to make public atonement. There was a God who called upon men to tell their sins to earth as well as to heaven.
Nothing that he could do would cleanse him till he had told his own sin. His sin? He shrugged his shoulders. The
death of Basil Hallward seemed very little to him.
He was thinking of Hetty Merton. For it was an unjust mirror, this mirror of his soul that he was looking at.
Vanity? Curiosity? Hypocrisy? Had there been nothing more in his renunciation than that? There had been
something more. At least he thought so. But who could tell? . . . No. There had been nothing more. Through
vanity he had spared her. In hypocrisy he had worn the mask of goodness. For curiosity's sake he had tried the
denial of self. He recognized that now.
But this murder--was it to dog him all his life? Was he always to be burdened by his past? Was he really to
confess? Never. There was only one bit of evidence left against him. The picture itself-- that was evidence. He
would destroy it. Why had he kept it so long? Once it had given him pleasure to watch it changing and growing
old. Of late he had felt no such pleasure. It had kept him awake at night.
When he had been away, he had been filled with terror lest other eyes should look upon it. It had brought
melancholy across his passions. Its mere memory had marred many moments of joy. It had been like conscience
to him. Yes, it had been conscience. He would destroy it.
He looked round and saw the knife that had stabbed Basil Hallward. He had cleaned it many times, till there was
no stain left upon it. It was bright, and glistened. As it had killed the painter, so it would kill the painter's work,
and all that that meant.
It would kill the past, and when that was dead, he would be free. It would kill this monstrous soul-life, and
without its hideous warnings, he would be at peace. He seized the thing, and stabbed the picture with it.
There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was so horrible in its agony that the frightened servants woke and
crept out of their rooms. Two gentlemen, who were passing in the square below, stopped and looked up at the