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Dorian Gray

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Introduction

As Dorian's sins grow worse over the years, his likeness in Basil's portrait grows more hideous. Dorian seems to lack a conscience, but the desire to repent that he eventually feels illustrates that he is indeed human. Despite the beautiful things with which he surrounds himself, he is unable to distract himself from the dissipation of his soul. His murder of Basil marks the beginning of his end: although in the past he has been able to sweep infamies from his mind, he cannot shake the thought that he has killed his friend. Dorian's guilt tortures him relentlessly until he is forced to do away with his portrait. In the end, Dorian seems punished by his ability to be influenced: if the new social order celebrates individualism, as Lord Henry claims, Dorian falters because he fails to establish and live by his own moral code. I am certainly handsome, with my finely-curved scarlet lips, my frank blue eyes, and my crisp gold hair. ...read more.

Middle

Youth is the only thing worth having. When I find that I am growing old, I will kill myself 'I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait he has painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me, and gives something to it. Oh, If it was only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day,-mock me horribly! I will give up even your soul to be like that forever! I want eternal youth! How come you acted so horribly! It was dreadful. Are you ill? You have no idea what it was. You have no idea what I suffered.' 'You are ill, I suppose. When you are ill you shouldn't act. You make yourself ridiculous. My friends were bored. I was bored.' ...read more.

Conclusion

If I had read all this in a book, Harry, I think I would have wept over it. Somehow, now that it has happened actually, and to me, it seems far too wonderful for tears. Here is the first passionate love-letter I have ever written in my life. Strange, that my first passionate love letter should have been addressed to a dead girl. Can they feel, I wonder, those white silent people we call the dead? Sibyl! Can she feel, or know, or listen? Oh, Harry, How I loved her once! It seems years ago to me now. She was everything to me. Then came that dreadful night-was it really only last night?-when she played so badly, and my heart almost broke. She explained it all to me. It was terribly pathetic. But I was not moved a bit. I thought her shallow. Then something happened that made me afraid. I can't tell you what it was, but it was awful. I said I would go back to her. I felt I had done wrong. And now she is dead. She would have done that for me. She had no right to kill herself. It was selfish of her. ...read more.

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