Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Picture of Dorian Gray

I've had a mission in recent months to try and read as many 'classics' as possible. The Picture of Dorian Gray I considered to be one of these classics. It's been made into countless films, the character popping up in different sci-fi films, and the book is endlessly referenced in literature and shows.

But what is The Picture of Dorian Gray? I was expecting it would be a lengthy read where I was generally bored out of my mind with fancy words discussing topics that I had little interest in. At least, that tends to happen with a few of the 'classics' I've read.

I was pleasantly surprised that my assumption was far off and I truly enjoyed reading Dorian Gray. The book isn't immensely long and is quick with entertainment. I adored the painter Basil and felt for his emotional persona, I disliked Lord Henry right off the bat, and I enjoyed Dorian Gray at first but grew to hate him as he grew to be a terrible person.

I typically don't like the horror genre. Gothic literature is not my forte and never has been. But I truly did enjoy this book. The great philosophical ideas of Lord Henry (and in turn, Dorian Gray) was worth a thought and the possibility of it all was great. What struck me most important about the book that if it were possible to place your soul into a portrait so that you may claim your beauty for years there is no time where people would be more willing to do that than the present.

With so many youth rejuvenating items out there it seems like many people are already trying to trade in their soul for youth. They should be able to easily understand what Dorian's dislike for age is. Lord Henry only makes it all the worse. He reminds me of the snake in the Garden of Eden. Whispering poison into Dorian's ear all the while.

Dorian really is poisoned by a book and not so much the portrait. The portrait, I feel, is more of an innocent bystander. But I feel that Lord Henry was the orchestrator for all of this. He provided the initial thoughts for Dorian to place his soul in the portrait and he provided the book which Dorian reads and in turn slowly becomes an evil character.

It was a great read, something I'm happy to have given a chance to. I can now see why it is such a classic and used so often in pop culture. I think that anyone who has an interest in the classics of literature should pick this book up from their local library or book store. Give it a try and see if you're more of a Henry, Basil, or Dorian Gray.

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