The Picture of Dorian Gray Novel Analysis Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  893 Words
Date:  2022-12-06

The novel The picture of Dorian Gray follows the steps of narrative structure to the latter from exposition to resolution. Exposition is used to introduce the background information about events, settings, characters, or other elements of a work to the readers. Wilde used this art exceptionally in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the first chapter Wilde starts with a conversation between Lord Henry Wotton and Basil Hallward the artist on his painting of Dorian Gray. "It is your best work, Basil, the best thing you have ever done," said Lord Henry languidly. "You must certainly send it next year to the Grosvenor........."I don't think I shall send it anywhere," he answered, tossing his head back in that odd way that used to make his friends laugh at him at Oxford. "No, I won't send it anywhere." (Wilde 3-4). The reader realizes the work of Basil Hallward and his nature together with that of Lord Henry Wotton which helps build an interest of the reader.

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Rising action in a novel includes all decisions, character flaws and background circumstances that together create turns and twists leading to a climax. Wilde introduces this when Dorian attends a play in a poor ugly theater and falls in love with actress Sibyl Vane.

'I don't think I am likely to marry, Harry. I am too much in love. That is one of your aphorisms. I am putting it into practice, as I do everything you say.'

'Whom are you in love with?' said Lord Henry, looking at him with a curious smile.

'With an actress,' said Dorian Gray, blushing.

Lord Henry shrugged his shoulders. 'That is a rather common-place debut,' he murmured.

'You would not say so if you saw her, Harry.'

'Who is she?'

'Her name is Sibyl Vane.'

'Never heard of her.'

'No one has. People will someday, however. She is a genius.' (The Picture of Dorian Gray 54)

Another rising action is when Sibyl commits suicide after Dorian scolds her for performing horribly in front of Basil and Henry. 'Basil,' said the lad, going over to him, and putting his hand on his shoulder, 'you have come too late. Yesterday when I heard that Sibyl Vane had killed herself-''killed herself! Good heavens! Is there no doubt about that?' cried Hallward, looking up at him with an expression of horror. (129).

The climax is a decisive moment in a storyline in which the rising action turns around into a falling action or the point at which a conflict reaches its peak, then calls for a resolution. Oscar Wilde demonstrates climax in his novel when Dorian murders Basil Hallward and feels like Bail brought it upon himself. There was a stifled groan and the horrible sound of someone choking with blood. The outstretched arms shot up convulsively three times, waving grotesque stiff-fingered hands in the air. He stabbed him once more, but the man did not move. Something began to trickle on the floor. He waited for a moment, still pressing the head down. Then he threw the knife on the table, and listened...... How quickly it had all been done! He felt strangely calm, and, walking over to the window, opened it, and stepped out on the balcony. (207-208).

The falling action takes place right after the climax when the main problem of the storyline resolves. After killing Basil, Dorian blackmails an old friend, Alan Campbell to help him out. I am awfully sorry for you, Alan. But I can't help myself. You are the one man who is able to save me. I am forced to bring you into the matter. I have no option. Alan, you are a scientist. You know about chemistry, and things of that kind....... He will not be missed for months. When he is missed, there must be no trace of him found here. You, Alan, you must change him, and everything that belongs to him, into a handful of ashes that I may scatter in the air.' (221-222).


In the conclusion, Dorian later encounters James Vane who tries to avenge Sibyl's death but escapes to his country estate. After a hunting party accidentally kills James Vane, Dorian resolves to amend his life but does not have the courage to confess his crimes. A new life! That was what he wanted. That was what he was waiting for. Surely he had begun it already. He had spared one innocent thing, at any rate. He would never again tempt innocence. He would be good. (244-245).The painting revealed that his supposed desire to repent was hypocritical. Dorian attempted to destroy the painting by stabbing it in the heart, but there is a crash, and his servants enters to find the portrait back to the original painting of Dorian Gray, a beautiful young man and on the floor lies the body of an old man who is horribly wrinkled and disfigured with a knife plunged into his heart. He seized it, and stabbed the canvas with it, ripping the thing right up from top to bottom. There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was so horrible in its agony that the frightened servants woke, and crept out of their rooms. (248)

Work Cited

Wilde, Oscar, and Joseph Bristow. The picture of dorian gray. OUP Oxford, 2006.

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