Study Guide

The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapter 15

By Oscar Wilde

Chapter 15

  • That night, Dorian attends a very dull dinner party at the home of Lady Narborough, a clever but ugly socialite. She's very fond of Dorian, and she apologizes for how dull her other guests are that evening.
  • Fortunately, Lord Henry arrives, which livens up the party a bit. Still, Dorian's feeling listless; he can't touch a bite of the exquisite dinner, and he drowns his sorrows in champagne.
  • Henry and Lady Narborough rag Dorian a bit for being so low. Lady Narborough assumes he's in love, which directs the conversation to related topic, Dorian's friend, the infamous Madame de Ferrol. This famously beautiful lady is on her fourth husband, and they have a pleasant time gossiping sassily about her for a while.
  • However, Dorian is still feeling down. Lady Narborough tells him he ought to get married; Henry agrees, though it doesn't stop him from sharing his cynical views on marriage.
  • The conversation is interrupted by some of the other guests, who really aren't of interest to us.
  • Lord Henry and Dorian take this opportunity to talk privately. Dorian won't admit that anything's wrong, and just says that he's tired. They discuss plans for an upcoming holiday in the countryside.
  • Henry makes the mistake of asking Dorian what he was up to last night; Dorian has a minor freak out, and reacts defensively.
  • Dorian apologizes to Henry for being so irritable, and heads off home, full of anxiety.
  • At home, Dorian can't shake his feeling of terror. He burns Basil's traveling bag, making sure that there's no evidence that he was ever there, then tries to calm down.
  • Suddenly, he's filled with a craving—he reaches inside a cabinet for a small, ornate box. Inside is a mysterious substance that can only be one thing: opium.
  • Dorian puts the box back, then, disguised as a commoner, sneaks out of his house. He hails a cab and asks to be taken to a mysterious, distant location.