A Quick Analysis of Dorian GrayThe story begins as Basil Hallward, a painter, is working on a portrait depicting a young man named Dorian Gray. His friend, Lord Henry Wotton, is visiting and tells him that he thinks it is the best work Basil has ever done. He wants to know who the young man is in the painting, as his good looks are apparently very striking, but Basil is reluctant to talk about it. Lord Henry insists upon meeting Dorian, and eventually Basil introduces them, after warning Lord Henry not to try to “influence” Dorian, because he is a bad influence. Dorian instantly takes to Lord Henry, fascinated by the way he talks and his unique view of the world, which is pretty annoying, to me anyway. Lord Henry takes Dorian outside and makes a speech about how he thinks beauty is everything and that Dorian should not waste his youth because it is the “most important” thing in the world. Well, at least he’s not shallow or anything like that. When Basil finishes that painting, Dorian throws a hissy fit because he realizes that while he grows old and ugly, the painting will remain forever young. He wishes that the painting would age and he would remain beautiful forever. Way to go, Dorian.
The next day, Lord Henry visits his uncle, Lord Fermor, and finds out more about Dorian’s past and his parentage. He finds himself utterly obsessed with Dorian and the power he feels he has over him. Later, he visits his aunt, Lady Agatha, and Dorian is there. We get to hear more of his controversial opinions on several topics. Everybody seems appalled at the way he thinks, but I guess he is so charming that they eat it right up. Afterward, Dorian ditches Basil to go out with Lord Henry, which is pretty cold. Anyway, a month later, Dorian tells Lord Henry that he has fallen in love with an actress named Sybil Vane. They have a dialogue in which Dorian explains how he met Sybil (inspired by Lord Henry and wanting to know “everything about life,” he went to a “playhouse” in a bad part of town, saw her in a Shakespearean play, and was so smitten that he returned to see her every night since) and Lord Henry offers even MORE of his views, which mainly consist of (more) uppity, self-centered generalizations, not to mention the constant objectifying of women.