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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray


Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapter 18 Summary

  • The next day, Dorian doesn't leave the house; he's terrified that his assassin will find him. He wonders if this is all a product of his imagination – could he just have hallucinated his vision of his would-be killer? Surely he's safe.
  • However, he can't get the vision out of his head; Henry comes in that evening and finds Dorian crying.
  • After a couple of days of sulking, Dorian feels well enough to go outside. He feels infinitely better, and looks back on his former fear with contempt.
  • Dorian goes on a walk in the garden with the Duchess, then joins some other friends to go hunting.
  • Dorian and the Duchess's brother, Geoffrey, stroll through the woods, looking for animals to shoot. They come upon a beautiful hare. Dorian is charmed by the creature, and tells Geoffrey not to shoot it, but he scoffs and takes aim.
  • Geoffrey hits the hare – but also hits something else. He accidentally shoots a man hidden behind the trees.
  • Geoffrey angrily yells at the gamekeeper; he thinks it's one of the "beaters," men employed to flush birds out of the trees to be shot at.
  • The body of the shot man is dragged out, and Dorian is distraught – he finds the whole thing to be dreadful. Henry gently walks him back to the house, and informs him on the way that the man has died. Dorian is profoundly disturbed.
  • Henry, however, is not. He thinks it's the man's own fault for being in the line of fire, though he admits that this situation is rather awkward for Geoffrey.
  • Dorian thinks this is a bad omen, and is certain that something bad is going to happen to someone – maybe him.
  • Henry blows off this presentiment, and they change topics to Dorian's affair with the Duchess. However, Dorian's distress is still palpable, but he won't tell Henry what's the matter.
  • The Duchess comes out to join them, and the three of them discuss the murdered man in the most alarming way – as though he's just an animal. Their snobbery is unbelievable.
  • Dorian leaves his two friends and goes into the house. Henry and the Duchess continue their banter; they're pretty much equally matched in wit.
  • Inside, Dorian is totally freaking out. He feels like death is coming for him.
  • Thornton, the gamekeeper, comes in to see Dorian about the dead man. It turns out he wasn't a beater, after all. In fact, Thornton says, he looks more like a sailor.
  • This really wakes Dorian up – he desperately wants to know the man's identity. He rushes out on horseback to see the body where it's being kept in a stable.
  • The dead man is James Vane. Dorian rides back to the house, crying tears of joy – he's safe.

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