Customer Review

10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps I may disagree..., 3 Oct. 2005
This review is from: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Penguin Popular Classics) (Mass Market Paperback)
Whilst I do not wish to say this is a bad book, because of course it is not, I do believe that the praise which has been lavished upon it is undeserved. Yes this is a gem of a book, but the best piece of literature ever? Well, interpretation is subjective!
The story recounts the tale of a narcissistic youth who, so in love with his portait and himself, falls into a life of folly and hedonism under the influence of his dear friend Lord Henry. However, there is a price to pay for his reckless hedonism. For every sin he commits a wrinkle or other such defect appears upon the visage of his portrait, a masterpiece painted by his painting acquaintaince Basal Hallward. Although this originally engenders horror in poor Dorian's pretty ayran face he overcomes this and comes to revel in the fact that although he may act the devil his true beauty is not tainted, only that of the picture. So he runs around breaking hearts, provoking suicides, dealing in opium dens and doing all kinds of immoral follies. Eventually, fate catches up with him and he is shunned by society. Finally, when a friend reveals to him the horror of his reputation he kills and regresses to somewhat of a savage with a polite facade for daylight company. His attempts to destroy the picture which has 'marred' his life lead to his own death conveying the poignant notion that no one can escape their conscience.
A great book no doubt but pales in comparison to Stevenson's greater novel. This could be a moral fable had the protagonist not sort to reform for the virtue of his own vanity and had the protagonist not died preaching how those who he had murdered, forced to suicide or had shunned, were the victim's of their own flaws. Deliciously despicable and decadent, and let's be honest we all love a bit of character duality, this book is a must for anyone interested in gothic literature. However, if one is expected to read and experience somewhat of a moral epiphany then perhaps consider something else.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Nov 2008 17:34:13 GMT
wakl says:
When you review a book, don't give away the ending. Idiot!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2009 19:40:09 BDT
Wilde's point was not to make this a moral fable.

The complexity in meaning and artistic intent is what elevates it above simple moral fables.
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