Study Guide

The Picture of Dorian Gray Good vs. Evil

By Oscar Wilde

Good vs. Evil

Man, do we love a good, old fashioned catfight between Good and Evil. Seriously, this is the oldest play in the book, but it's still good pretty much every time. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the struggle is for the soul of the protagonist (Dorian).

As soon as he enters the scene, we can tell that there's going to be a brutal round of tug-of-war over who gets to lay claim to the innocent, untouched soul of this pure young man. Evil looks like it's pulling ahead for a while – but, wait a minute, we smell comeuppance in the air. Good ultimately triumphs here when evil Dorian is punished with a death that's both horrifying and rather embarrassing.

Questions About Good vs. Evil

  1. Can we divide all the characters here into two groups – "good" and "evil"?
  2. If so, who is on each team?
  3. Does either side actually "win" in the end, or is this a lose-lose situation?

Chew on This

The ultimate struggle in The Picture of Dorian Gray is between Dorian's warring sides; he himself encompasses both pure good and pure evil.

The Picture of Dorian Gray offers Christianity, represented by Basil, as the only way of escape from the satanic clutches of Lord Henry.