Dorian Gray – A radiantly handsome impressionable, and wealthy young gentleman whose portrait the artist Basil Hallward paints. When Dorian realizes that his youth and beauty are ever waning he curses his portrait because it will remind him of what he will have lost. In this vulnerability and insecurity in these moments make him excellent clay for Lord Henry´s willing hands. Dorian becomes extremely concerned to pursue his own pleasure above all else. He devotes himself to having as many experiences as possible, whether moral or immoral, elegant or sordid.
Lord Henry Wotton – A nobleman and a close friend of Basil Hallward. He is perpetually armed and ready with well-phrased epigrams criticizing the moralism and hypocrisy of Victorian society. He finds all of sociery´s conventions from fidelity in marriage to charity toward the poor to be hypocritical covers for people´s selfish motives. His pleasure-seeking philosophy of “new Hedonism” plays a vital role in Dorian´s development. Lord Henry has little notion of the practical effects of his philosophy.
Basil Hallward – An artist, and a friend of Lord Henry. Basil becomes obsessed with Dorian after meeting him at a party. His love for Dorian Gray, which seems to reflect Oscar Wilde´s own affection for his young lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, changes the way he sees art. He claims that Dorian possesses a beauty so rare that it has helped him realize a new kind of art. Dorian also helps Basil realize his artistic potential, as the portrait of Dorian that Basil paints proves to be his masterpiece. Basil seeks to protect Dorian, voicing his objection to Lord Henry´s injurious influence over Dorian and defending Dorian even after their relationship has clearly dissolved. Basil´s commitment to Dorian, which ultimately proves fatal, reveals the genuineness of his love for his favorite subject and his concern for the safety and salvation of Dorian´s soul.
In the stately London home of his aunt, Lady Agatha, the well-known artist Basil Hallward meets Dorian Gray. Dorian is a cultured, wealthy, and impossibly beautiful young man who immediately captures Basil´s artistic imagination. Dorian sits for several portraits, and Basil often depicts him as an ancient Greek hero or a mythological figure.
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Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray
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