AUTHOR- OSCAR WILDE
PUBLISHED IN- 1890
It is the only novel written by Oscar Wilde. I had always been fascinated with Wilde’s words and hence wanted to try his book out. I won’t say that I feel disappointed but it isn’t the fact that this book touched my soul or anything. Although I could see why this book could be a subject of sensitivity for so many people.
Dorian starts as a young handsome man in his early twenties. Basil, a painter and his friend paints an uncanny portrait of him. A third character named Lord Henry who is a friend to both, tells Dorian how important his youth is and that once it is gone, there is no beauty in anything. Dorian then wishes there that all the years should show up in the portrait’s face and that his own face should remain untouched. Unknowing to him, this wish becomes true. In the next two decades, Dorian goes on to commit various “pleasures” and commits sin after sin. A young actress commits suicide when he rejects her love for him quite harshly despite his prior promise of marrying her. And that’s how he starts a journey of degradation of his character and morale. He becomes aware that none of his doings show any hint in his face while his portrait keeps on changing from a once beautiful young man to a foul some man. He keeps away the portrait from others as a secret of his ever changing youth. When Basil hears of the foul things about him, he goes to confront Dorian wherein Dorian shows him his portrait and how it has changed. A heartbroken Basil tries to help Dorian quit his doings but it falls in vain as Dorian kills him with a knife. The hands of the portrait now bears blood. Gradually, it starts to eat up Dorian from inside when he realizes that he is become nothing but an empty shell. Towards the end, Dorian in an attempt to destroy the picture, ends up killing himself. The servants discover the picture the way it was, young and beautiful while the real Dorian lies dead, old, with wrinkles and bearing the face of the devil.
All in all, I enjoyed the concept very much. the problem was with the filler chapters. It was a drag for me to read those. Maybe this style of writing just isn’t my thing.i also cannot say that I completely relate with the concept. Youth and beauty. Such vain things it seems. I realize that I am at my peak. I will never be more youthful than I am today and after a matter of a few more years, I will come to envy this youthful phase of mine. That’s that.
But let say I am talking of an utopian society where one never ages. Like the movie “In time”, let say instead of growing old, we remain the way we look like till we die. I am not talking of immortality. That would be absurd. I am talking of eternal youth and beauty, where one ever loses the sparkle of eyes or the tight skin on her face. What after that? What things can go wrong in such a world? It’s against nature, right? It fails the law of decay. But what can go wrong? Maybe the workforce would double. There would be no old aged people to increase the workload. How about family wise? With only kids and young adults in a household, it would seem like it will be all chaotic. But the criminal side of the society would surely increase. With no natural force to bind one down, a criminal could keep on with his anti social doings. I wonder if all that would be really bad.
“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
“To define is to limit.”
“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”
“I am too fond of reading books to care to write them.”
“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”
“Never marry at all, Dorian. Men marry because they are tired, women, because they are curious: both are disappointed.”
“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”
“I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if only one hides it.”
These were some of the quotes from the book that I had been in love with before even reading the book. It is these quotes which made me curious about Oscar Wilde at a young age. Well, I guess I can now strike one thing off my TBR list.