Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

"I make a great difference between people. I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool. They are all men of some intellectual power, and consequently they all appreciate me. Is that very vain of me? I think it is rather vain." (1.18)

Lord Henry's view on other people is basically summed up here: he's only interested in what other people can contribute to his life, not to building real relationships.

Quote #2

He had known Basil Hallward for months, but the friendship between them had never altered him. Suddenly there had come some one across his life who seemed to have disclosed to him life's mystery. And, yet, what was there to be afraid of? He was not a schoolboy or a girl. It was absurd to be frightened. (II-16)

Dorian's understanding of friendship is starting to change. He wonders what this strange new acquaintance (Lord Henry) will do to him, and he already starts to feel himself on the brink of some transformation.

Quote #3

"You are glad you have met me, Mr. Gray," said Lord Henry, looking at him.

"Yes, I am glad now. I wonder shall I always be glad?"

"Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer."

As they entered the studio, Dorian Gray put his hand upon Lord Henry's arm. "In that case, let our friendship be a caprice," he murmured, flushing at his own boldness, then stepped up on the platform and resumed his pose. (2.19-20)

Friendship, to Lord Henry, is certainly not a matter of loyalty – it's a matter of enjoyment, and living for the moment. This is fairly representative of his whole approach to life, not just relationships.

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