The Picture of Dorian Gray
Good vs. Evil Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Dorian Gray is my dearest friend," he said. "He has a simple and a beautiful nature. Your aunt was quite right in what she said of him. Don't spoil him. Don't try to influence him. Your influence would be bad. The world is wide, and has many marvellous people in it. Don't take away from me the one person who gives to my art whatever charm it possesses: my life as an artist depends on him. Mind, Harry, I trust you." He spoke very slowly, and the words seemed wrung out of him almost against his will.
"What nonsense you talk!" said Lord Henry, smiling, and taking Hallward by the arm, he almost led him into the house. (1.24-25)
And the battle begins. Basil, sadly, is fully aware of what Henry is capable of – he's worried from the very beginning that Henry will turn his young friend from good to evil.
"You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget. When I close my eyes, I hear them, and each of them says something different. I don't know which to follow." (4.10)
Again, Dorian has a choice between good (Sybil) and evil (Henry) – he's torn between his love for the two of them.
"I hope the girl is good, Harry. I don't want to see Dorian tied to some vile creature, who might degrade his nature and ruin his intellect."
"Oh, she is better than good – she is beautiful," murmured Lord Henry, sipping a glass of vermouth and orange-bitters. "Dorian says she is beautiful, and he is not often wrong about things of that kind. Your portrait of him has quickened his appreciation of the personal appearance of other people. It has had that excellent effect, amongst others." (6.2)
Here, we see a frequent mistake made in this book – the confusion of beauty and goodness. Henry goes a step further, saying that beauty is even better than goodness.