The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[…] the wonderful beauty that had so fascinated Basil Hallward, and many others besides him, seemed never to leave him. Even those who had heard the most evil things against him -- and from time to time strange rumours about his mode of life crept through London and became the chatter of the clubs -- could not believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him. He had always the look of one who had kept himself unspotted from the world. Men who talked grossly became silent when Dorian Gray entered the room. There was something in the purity of his face that rebuked them. His mere presence seemed to recall to them the memory of the innocence that they had tarnished. They wondered how one so charming and graceful as he was could have escaped the stain of an age that was at once sordid and sensual. (11.3)
Dorian's eternally fresh, innocent, and pure appearance is more powerful than the grotesque rumors that surround him as the years pass. We see that the world, not just Dorian, also places inconceivably high value on good looks.
Certainly no one looking at Dorian Gray that night could have believed that he had passed through a tragedy as horrible as any tragedy of our age. Those finely shaped fingers could never have clutched a knife for sin, nor those smiling lips have cried out on God and goodness. He himself could not help wondering at the calm of his demeanour, and for a moment felt keenly the terrible pleasure of a double life. (15.1)
Dorian loves the feeling of secret sin that he gleans from his "double life." The knowledge of his terrible crime is his guilty pleasure.
When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was. (20.18)
Finally, Dorian's mask is lifted, and his true self is revealed – justice is served.