Study Guide

The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapter 14

By Oscar Wilde

Chapter 14

  • The next morning, Dorian is awakened at nine by his valet. At first, he doesn't remember what happened the night before—his sleep was untroubled by conscience.
  • Then, the memories come back; Dorian can't stop thinking about how much he suffered, but totally unsympathetic towards Basil (who was murdered—come on, man).
  • Dorian tries not to think too much about all of this unpleasant stuff, and goes about his business, getting dressed, reading letters, and having breakfast. He then writes two letters, and has one sent to the mysterious Alan Campbell.
  • Dorian then lounges about in the library, comforting himself with poetry. Caught up in emotion, he briefly feels a little bad for Basil, then tries again to forget about it.
  • However, though Dorian keeps trying to think of more pleasant things (like sphinxes and aesthetic crocodiles), he is overcome by nerves. What if Alan Campbell doesn't show up?
  • We learn that Alan is one of the ex-friends that now hates Dorian. He's a brilliant young man—a scientist—and he and Dorian were great friends for a while. They were brought together by their love for music and were totally besties for about a year and half. Then, all of a sudden, they weren't friends anymore—nobody knows why. Alan then devoted his life to science.
  • While Dorian's waiting for Alan, time drags on. He might not realize it, but this is the thing called "fear" that the rest of us are well acquainted with.
  • Finally, Alan shows up. He's cold and unsympathetic—we have to wonder what terrible thing Dorian did to him.
  • Dorian knows that he has to do another terrible thing to Alan, and there's pity in his eyes. He tells Alan about the corpse upstairs, and requests that Alan use "science" to get rid of it. You know, because "science" can do anything, including make dead bodies disappear.
  • Trying to get the reluctant Alan on his side, Dorian claims that Basil committed suicide, but then admits to the murder when Alan still refuses.
  • The two ex-friends argue fruitlessly for a while. When it seems as though Alan's just going to keep refusing, Dorian pulls out all the stops and resorts to blackmail. He writes something (that we don't get to see) on a piece of paper and shows it to the astonished, horrified Alan. Whatever it is, it must be damning.
  • Alan is totally miserable—wouldn't you be? Dorian has him backed into a corner; he has to take this mission, or Dorian will ruin his life.
  • Alan agrees to dispose of the body. Dorian sends his servant to get Alan's lab equipment and supplies from his house, and, while they wait, things are totally, horrifically awkward. Finally, the servant returns, and Dorian dismisses him for the rest of the day. They're ready to start the gruesome "experiment."
  • Dorian takes Alan upstairs, and leaves him in the schoolroom with the dead man. He flees the room, and Alan begins what he has to do.
  • Hours later, Alan emerges, pale and drawn. He's finished the job, and he never wants to see Dorian again.
  • Dorian goes to check out the schoolroom—it smells like acid, but Alan got the job done. The body is gone.