A young man’s portrait

Lord Henry came over and examined the picture. It was certainly a wonderful work of art, and a wonderful likeness as well.

“My dear fellow, I congratulate you most warmly,” he said. “It is the finest portrait of modern times. Mr Gray, come over and look at yourself.”

The lad started, as if awakened from some dream. “Is it really finished,” he murmured, stepping down from the platform.

“Quite finished,” said the painter, “and you have sat splendidly to-day. I am awfully obliged to you.” “This is entirely due to me,” broke in Lord Henry. “Isn’t it, Mr Gray?”

Dorian made no answer, but passed listlessly in front of his picture, and turned towards it. When he saw it he drew back, and his cheeks flushed for a moment with pleasure. A look of joy came into his eyes, as if he had recognised himself for the first time. He stood there motionless and in wonder, dimly conscious that Hallward was speaking to him, but not catching the meaning of his words. The sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation. He had never felt it before. […] As he stood gazing at the shadow of his own loveliness, the full reality of the description flashed across him. Yes, there would be a day when his face would be wrinkled and wizen, his eyes dim and colourless, the grace of his figure broken and deformed. The scarlet would pass away from his lips, and the gold steal from his hair. […] He would become dreadful, hideous, and uncouth. As he thought of it, a sharp pang of pain struck through him like a knife. […]

“Don’t you like it?” cried Hallward at last, stung a little by the lad’s silence, not understanding what it meant.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, 1891.
Questions :
  1. What does his portrait reveal to Dorian Gray about himself?
  2. What strikes you about Dorian Gray? Can you understand what he experiences?

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