The Picture of Dorian Gray pdf by Oscar Wilde Download, Characters

The Picture of Dorian Gray pdf by Oscar Wilde is a philosophical novel. A shorter novella-length version was published in the July 1890 issue of the American periodical Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.  A revised and extended edition was published in April 1891. Revisions include changes in character dialogue as well as the addition of the preface, more scenes and chapters, and Sibyl Vane’s brother, James Vane. This book centers on a very handsome and interesting character known as Dorian Gray who in order to keep his beauty had to sell his soul for his portrait to age while he remains ageless. You can download the pdf version of the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar wilde as well do the following:

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Summary of the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist infatuated by Dorian’s beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life.  Suddenly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses the desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the picture, rather than he, will age and fade. The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences, while staying young and beautiful; all the while his portrait ages and records every sin.

Of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde modestly observes “an idea that is as old as the history of literature but to which I have given a new form” and “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world thinks of me: Dorian is what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” His literary creation,  rich with literary allusions and philosophical questions, appalled his first readers, but soon spawned a continuous series of screen and stage adaptions.

About the author The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingall O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford where, a disciple of Pater, he founded an aesthetic cult. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886.

His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), established his reputation. In 1895, following his libel action against the Marquess of Queesberry, Wilde was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for homosexual conduct, as a result of which he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), and his confessional letter De Profundis (1905). On his release from prison in 1897 he lived in obscurity in Europe, and died in Paris in 1900.

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The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Major characters in the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  • Dorian Gray – a handsome, narcissistic young man enthralled by Lord Henry’s “new” hedonism. He indulges in every pleasure and virtually every ‘sin’, studying its effect upon him.
  • Basil Hallward – a deeply moral man, the painter of the portrait, and infatuated with Dorian, whose patronage realises his potential as an artist. The picture of Dorian Gray is Basil’s masterpiece.
  • Lord Henry “Harry” Wotton – an imperious aristocrat and a decadent dandy who espouses a philosophy of self-indulgent hedonism. Initially Basil’s friend, he neglects him for Dorian’s beauty. The character of witty Lord Harry is a critique of Victorian culture at the Fin de siècle – of Britain at the end of the 19th century. Lord Harry’s libertine world view corrupts Dorian, who then successfully emulates him. To the aristocrat Harry, the observant artist Basil says, “You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing.” Lord Henry takes pleasure in impressing, influencing, and even misleading his acquaintances (to which purpose he bends his considerable wit and eloquence) but appears not to observe his own hedonistic advice, preferring to study himself with scientific detachment. His distinguishing feature is total indifference to the consequences of his actions.
  • Sibyl Vane – a talented actress and singer, she is a beautiful girl from a poor family with whom Dorian falls in love. Her love for Dorian ruins her acting ability, because she no longer finds pleasure in portraying fictional love as she is now experiencing real love in her life. She commits suicide with poison on learning that Dorian no longer loves her; at that, Lord Henry likens her to Ophelia, in Hamlet.
  • James Vane – Sibyl’s younger brother, a sailor who leaves for Australia. He is very protective of his sister, especially as their mother cares only for Dorian’s money. Believing that Dorian means to harm Sibyl, James hesitates to leave, and promises vengeance upon Dorian if any harm befalls her. After Sibyl’s suicide, James becomes obsessed with killing Dorian, and stalks him, but a hunter accidentally kills James. The brother’s pursuit of vengeance upon the lover (Dorian Gray), for the death of the sister (Sibyl) parallels that of Laertes’ vengeance against Prince Hamlet.
  • Alan Campbell – chemist and one-time friend of Dorian who ended their friendship when Dorian’s libertine reputation devalued such a friendship. Dorian blackmails Alan into destroying the body of the murdered Basil Hallward; Campbell later shoots himself dead.
  • Lord Fermor – Lord Henry’s uncle, who tells his nephew, Lord Henry Wotton, about the family lineage of Dorian Gray.
  • Adrian Singleton – A youthful friend of Dorian’s, whom he evidently introduced to opium addiction, which induced him to forge a cheque and made him a total outcast from his family and social set.
  • Victoria, Lady Henry Wotton – Lord Henry’s wife, whom he treats disdainfully; she later divorces him.

Quotes in the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

“And beauty is a form of genius — is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it. You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won’t smile…”

“People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial. That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”

“Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism — that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.”

“I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have 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 were 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 believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream — I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal — to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be.”

“An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty.”

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Editorial reviews and praise for the book

Although the mannered society of the late 1800s may seem far removed from that of today, I was struck by the similarities’- the guardian

 A cautionary tale of depravity and sham- Fantasy book review

I chose the book “THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY” because I had heard from some of my friends that it is very good and is keeping you in suspense. When I took the book and read the title I expected it to be about a man who is called Dorian and his picture.Dorian Gray was a handsome rich person with beautiful eyes. Basil was a very good painter and he painted a portrait of Dorian Gray. Harry was Basil and Dorian’s friend. When Basil finished the portrait it was so beautiful that Dorian made a wish that his appearance would stay the same and the picture would grow older day by day. As time passed, Dorian became an evil man and killed Basil because he was the man who painted the portrait. After that Dorian changed very much. In the end, Dorian decided to destroy the picture. His staff heard a man crying in the attic and when they went into the room they saw a beautiful portrait and an old man with wrinkles lying on the floor.

In general, I liked all the book, but my favorite part was where Dorian destroyed the portrait and my least favorite part was where Dorian killed Basil. I found the character of Dorian Gray believable and likeable because he had two personalities and this made him really interesting. The plot was fabulous because there was a murder and action. The author’s style is great, clear and it has got a fantastic aura. I think the author did a good job and I wouldn’t do anything differently.- Lisa Pavloudi

The Picture of Dorian Gray had a notorious reputation even before it was used against its author, Oscar Wilde, at his trial for gross indecency. Where it may lack originality in its premise, it more than makes up for it in the evocation of the contrasts and contradictions of high and low 19th century London society- Jason Fernandes

This novel by Wilde is so well known that even many who have never read it or seen a movie version know the story. Briefly, a beautiful young man has a portrait painted that will show his aging and corruption while he himself remains young. And though it has been published in many editions since its first appearance in 1890 in a magazine, this edition is the first one based on Wilde’s uncensored typescript. Frankel (English, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.) provides an introduction that sets the scene of the book in its cultural context, and he presents a bibliographic history detailing the rationale for this particular edition. Accompanying the text itself are Frankel’s hundreds of annotations, a mixture of commentary, background information, and notes on sources. There are extensive illustrations reproduced here in both color and black and white, many from earlier editions of Dorian and others chosen to further illuminate the novel’s themes. There are several images of Wilde as well. VERDICT Like Harvard University Press’s other beautiful annotated editions of classics, this is both handsome and instructive. Recommended for all English literature collections.-David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.—Library Journal.

Customer reviews on for the picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar wilde

Rated 5 stars

“Beauty is a form of Genius.”

By User, October 6, 2006

Oscar Wilde was one of the foremost representatives of Aestheticism, a movement based on the notion that art exists for no other purpose than its existence itself (“l’art pour l’art”), not for the purpose of social and moral enlightenment. Born in Dublin and a graduate of Oxford’s Magdalen College, he initially worked primarily as a journalist, editor and lecturer, but gradually turned to writing and produced his most acclaimed works in the six-year span from 1890 to 1895, roughly coinciding with the period of his romantic involvement with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas, sixteen years his junior. Douglas’s strained relationship with his father, John Sholto Douglas, Marquees of Queensberry, eventually resulted in a series of confrontations between Wilde and the Marquees, which first led to a libel suit brought by Wilde against his lover’s father (who had openly accused Wilde of “posing as a sodomite” and threatened to disown his son if he didn’t give up his acquaintance with the writer) and subsequently to two criminal trials against Wilde for “gross indecencies,” based on a law generally interpreted to prohibit homosexual relationships. Sentenced to a two-year term of “hard labor” in Reading Gaol, Wilde emerged from prison in 1897 a spiritually, physically and financially broken man and, unable to continue living in England or Ireland, after three years’ wanderings throughout Europe died in 1900 of cerebral meningitis, barely 46 years old. “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Wilde’s only novel besides seven plays as well as several works of short fiction, poetry, nonfiction and two fairy tale collections originally written for his two sons, is critical to an understanding of Wilde’s body of work and his personality primarily for two reasons: First, because it constitutes one of his earliest fully accomplished formulations of Aestheticism, and secondly because of its undeniable undercurrent of homoeroticism; an inclination which, after a six-year marriage widely thought to initially have been a true love match, Wilde had begun to explore more openly around the time of the novel’s creation (1890). The story’s title character is an exceptionally handsome young man who, both in the eyes of the artist tasked to paint his portrait, Basil Hallward, and in those of their somewhat older friend Lord Henry Wotton, epitomizes perfect beauty and is coveted by both men for that very reason. Seduced by hedonistic Lord Henry into believing that beauty can literally justify anything, including any act of immorality, Dorian sells his soul for maintaining his beautiful appearance, letting his portrait age in his stead. (In that, his character resembles Goethe’s and Marlowe’s Faust.) He then quickly turns from an innocent youth into a cruel and calculating man whom society, in its shallow adherence to appearances, nonetheless never associates with any of the results of his cruelty, never looking beyond the surface of his handsome exterior and assuming that a man so beautiful could be so evil.

 5 stars

A Thrilling Read

By User, March 14, 2000

I first was introduced to Dorian Gray through a book club, and I thought ‘Oh no, Oscar Wilde, here I go, another hard to read boring society book”. I was wrong. Within the first two chapters of Dorian Gray I was intrigued and fascinated. This book deals with several issues that are as important now as they are today: the way our culture worships beauty and youth, an admiration that boarders on homosexual love, virtues, the differences between men and women, and what art is and what makes it truly art. Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man, who sees a portrait of himself and says “How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young…If only it were the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the portrait to grow old…I would give my soul for that!” The book takes off from there, leading you from a small theater to great parties. While younger readers may find some of the wording as tough as an old gym shoe, anyone older than 13 with an interest in mystery, romance, and how society runs, will find this a pleasurable and haunting read.

Rated 4 stars

The Ugly Side Of Beauty

By Ket_zees_reads, November 11, 2020 Verified Purchase

I didn’t find anything I didn’t enjoy in this story, I would’ve liked it to be longer, granted, Lord Henry’s character was pretty unlikable but also very interesting, he poisoned the mind of naive and beautiful Dorian, and was the biggest influence to his downfall, sometimes it sucks to be so beautiful.

Customer reviews on

By Thomas Fordham
5th November 2019

“Dark and Intriguing”

A story that has always fascinated me through film references and other things. Finally getting my hands on the original book where the story came from was an absolute delight for me. Wilde has a very distinct way of describing things and storytelling, capturing emphatic highs and crushing lows in this background of melancholic vanity. I enjoyed the characters he created as a they are very distinct and often polarising. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the price of vanity.

By GemmaP1985
31st July 2017


Wow….I chose to read this book because I was intrigued to read a novel by Oscar Wilde. I though it would be quite heavy going and difficult to read. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I got into it and how quickly it gripped me. I could not put this book down and the story was totally absorbing, with a surprising twist. I loved this book and only wish that he had written more.

By A. Leyman
7th February 2018

“Intensely thought provoking!”

I bought this on a whim but I have never been so glad of a spontaneous buy. I was as captivated by the silver-tongued Henry Wotton as Dorian Grey and was thoroughly fascinated by his subsequent pursuit of wanton hedonism and the painful implications of doing so. I  Would definitely recommend.

By Amy Pirt at Thanet
31st July 2017

“Faust, Jordan style”

Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty, continuing to act the perfect gentleman while secretly living a life of decadence. Only his portrait shows his true character. With obvious parallels to Wilde’s own life, this classic moralistic tale is still hugely relevant in our image-conscious society.

Customer reviews on Amazon for the picture of Dorian Gray

Kindle Customer3.0 out of 5 stars Idk

Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2020

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I found myself reading this again after reading this in my youth out of sheer curiosity. When I was younger, I was caught up with Dorian’s fierce romanticism and savagery. Today, I found Dorian a somewhat tedious character. Please do not misunderstand me, the writing is still fascinatingly lyrical to me. But as a subject, I don’t know if I really care for it, nor do I think I shall ever read this book again. I finished the book because it had to be done.

Carla W

4.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but goody

Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2015

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This book was written over 100 years ago and is on my challenge list. It wasn’t very long but took me a while to read because it was pretty deep and the some of the vernacular is different. I had to stop a lot and really think about what the author was trying to say. This book put great value on looks as if it were the end all and be all of everything wonderful. It’s interesting to see how things were looked at and I can’t help wishing I could speak to this author and ask him if he truly felt this way and if so ask again, Who decideds what’s beautiful?

The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The name says it all. It really is about his picture and what it represented at the time. It feels as if there is only one main character and it isn’t dorian gray. He is the object that everyone is talking about in the book but its not really about him.
But about his life and how the other players have influenced him or it. Quite philisophical really. I love to talk about that kind of introspective stuff. The intangables that people have ingrained in their minds but don’t speak of. How our insides don’t necessarily match our outsides. He started out quite normal, if a little vain. The first half of the book was slow and I ended up reading a couple of books in between. The last half picked up so quick I finished it in one sitting. Dorian Gray is an idiot in my opinion. He let others influence him till he had no sense of self. Then when he messed up he rationalized it to himself. If he didn’t like what he was doing he did something else. He was a spoiled rich kid with no sense of honor.

Everyone knows this story right? I’m not really spoiling for you am I? Spoiled rich kid sits for a pianting. A painting so wonderful in its youth and beauty that Dorian mouths a prayer (or a curse depending on how you look at it) that he forever remain as this picture. And so the story begins. He is in love with himself. Pure vanity. I could really go on and on talking about this wonderful book, but then I would deprive you are reading it for yourself. BTW, it’s free.

The ending really sang to me. I loved it and found it entirely fitting.

Favorite quotes:

The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.
But the picture? What to say of that? It held the secret of his life, and told his story. It taught him to love his own beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul? We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and thinks too much to be beautiful.

Clare O’Beara

4.0 out of 5 stars The picture of Dorian Gray

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 15, 2015

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Lengthy conversations form the majority of this tale, which is an early urban fantasy.
A young dandy called Dorian Grey enjoys society in London and has his portrait painted, but a lot of the artist goes into the work. Grey is influenced by an older man who thinks women are trivial decorative creatures and only youth and beauty matter. Grey becomes absorbed by such ideas and makes a pact that his portrait should grow older instead of him. Meanwhile he manages to fall for a penniless young actress and changes his mind. But the portrait starts to reflect his growing selfishness and cruelty, then as Grey discards the girl, preferring to collect obscure art, it ages instead of him in the attic where he has hidden the revealing work. The reflections of society are interesting, and we can clearly see what Wilde was not able to say, that some men are more attracted to beautiful young men than they are to women. The threat of revelation was enough to force a man to a dreadful deed. We also see that women have intellect by following a few conversations with them. Family loyalty is important to those who have a close family and the rich of the day think hardly at all of the poor or servants.

I enjoyed the mounting tensions and seeing Wilde’s famous lines in context. “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” is one. We see a good portrait of London and some country life. To me the book reads as unbalanced by having a long drawn out slow start with individuals speaking for ten minutes each, whereas the end is active, decisive and hurried. This is why I am not giving it a higher rating. But I am glad I’ve read it.

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