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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray


by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray Timeline and Summary

  • Dorian arrives at Basil's studio to model for the painting.
  • He meets Lord Henry and listens to his lecture on youth and beauty.
  • After seeing his picture, Dorian makes an impulsive wish, that he could stay young forever and watch the picture grow old instead.
  • At Lady Agatha's party, Dorian listens to Lord Henry's brilliant improvisation on the topic of youth.
  • Dorian meets Lady Henry.
  • Dorian tells Lord Henry about the actress he has fallen in love with – Sibyl Vane.
  • Our protagonist becomes engaged to Sibyl.
  • Dorian takes Lord Henry and Basil to see Sibyl at the theatre.
  • After Sibyl's bad performance, Dorian coldly breaks up with her.
  • When he gets home, Dorian realizes his portrait has changed. He realizes that his wish came true and the picture has changed – it seems to reveal his conscience.
  • The next day, Lord Henry visits Dorian to tell him Sibyl has committed suicide.
  • Dorian, with Lord Henry's help, convinces himself it's not his fault.
  • Basil visits Dorian the next day and Dorian barely escapes hiding the changed picture from him.
  • Dorian spends the afternoon hiding the picture in the old schoolroom, with the help of Mr. Hubbard.
  • Afterwards, he finds a yellow book Lord Henry sent him and spends the evening reading it. He is fascinated.
  • As the years pass, Dorian spends his wealth indulging his sensuous pleasures with perfumes, musical instruments, jewels, and embroideries.
  • He becomes increasingly paranoid about leaving his picture alone for long periods of time.
  • Disgraceful rumors begin circulating, staining Dorian's reputation.
  • On the eve of Dorian's thirty-eighth birthday, Basil visits Dorian right before he's scheduled to leave to Paris.
  • Basil's lecture to Dorian on preserving his good name infuriates Dorian. Impulsively, Dorian shows Basil the picture.
  • Dorian murders Basil. Then he stealthily leaves the house and rings the doorbell until his servant comes to let him in so that he can have an alibi for Basil's murder.
  • The next day, Dorian calls Alan Campbell and begs him to get rid of the body for him. When Alan refuses, Dorian threatens to blackmail him.
  • Alan agrees and destroys the body.
  • Dorian, in disguise, heads to the East End slums for a three-day opium binge, hoping it will help him forget his guilt.
  • James Vane finds Dorian outside an opium den. James ambushes him and almost kills him. Dorian's youthful appearance saves him.
  • Three days later, Dorian is entertaining the Duchess of Monmouth at his country house when he sees James Vane's face at the window and faints.
  • While still at the country estate, Dorian's friend Geoffrey Clouston accidentally shoots a man on a hunting trip.
  • Initially shaken, Dorian is glad to find out that the dead man is James Vane.
  • Dorian vows to change his life and be good, despite Lord Henry's protests.
  • As his first good deed, Dorian attempts to "save" Hetty, the country girl who has fallen in love with him. When Dorian checks his picture for positive changes, he finds none. He discovers that the figure in the portrait now appears to have a hypocritical smile.
  • Enraged, Dorian stabs the picture and then unleashes a horrifying scream.
  • Awakened by the commotion, Dorian's servants enter the crime scene to find the picture restored and an old man lying on the floor with a knife through his heart. It's Dorian.