Study sets, textbooks, questions
Upgrade to remove ads
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Study Guide Questions
Terms in this set (109)
Time Period/Literary Genre:
Who is Basil Hallward?
He is a London artist who paints he portrait of young Dorian Gray.
What completely captures Lord Henry's attention when he visits Hallward's studio?
He is fascinated by Basil's subject for the painting, a beautiful young man named Dorian Gray.
What reason does Basil give for not wanting to exhibit his painting of Dorian Gray?
Basil feels that he has to put too much of his own self into the painting, and it reveals the secrets of his soul.
What does Basil believe are the only two eras of importance in the world's history?
He believes that the appearance of a new medium for art and the new appearance of a new personality for art are the only two eras of importance in the world's history.
Basil believes that his landscape painting is the finest work he's ever done. To what does he attribute this success?
Dorian Gray was sitting beside Basil when he painted the landscape. Basil credits "some subtle influence" from Dorian's presence to the success of the work.
Why doesn't Basil want to introduce Lord Henry to Dorian Gray?
Basil is afraid that Lord Henry will be a negative influence on the young Dorian.
What does Lord Henry say is a person's primary obligation?
Lord Henry claims that self-development is the aim of life.
What two influences does Lord Henry say rule people's lives?
The terror of society, the basis of morals, and the terror of God, secret of religion.
According to Lord Henry, what is "the only way to get rid of a temptation"?
The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.
What does Dorian Gray so desperately wish for that he "would give his soul" to have it come true?
Dorian wishes that his portrait would age and that he would remain young and untouched by the ugliness of life.
To what does Basil attribute Dorian's negative reaction to his painting?
Basil attributed Dorian's reaction to Lord Henry's negative influence.
What happened to Dorian's father?
Dorian's father was killed in a duel. It was rumored, but never proved, that this duel was set up by Dorian's grandfather because he despised the young man who married his daughter.
What exercise does Lord Henry find "terribly enthralling"?
Lord Henry is enthralled with the exercise of influence (even though all influence is "immoral" according to Lord Henry).
What advice does Lord Henry give the Duchess when she asks how she can become young again?
He tells her that the secret of being young to repeat the follies of her youth.
When Dorian Gray is reminded that he promised to visit Basil Hallward, where does Dorian go instead?
Dorian chooses to go to the park with Lord Henry instead of keeping his promise to visit Basil.
Who is Victoria?
Lord Henry's wife; described as an untidy, foolishly romantic woman with "a perfect mania for going to church."
With whom does Dorian Gray fall in love?
An actress named Sibyl Vane.
What does Lord Henry tell Dorian Gray is "the real secret of life"?
"The real secret of life" is the search for beauty.
To where does Dorian want Henry and Basil to accompany him?
Dorian wants Henry and Basil to come to the theatre to see Sibyl Vane, Dorian's love interest (plays Juliet).
What news is in the telegram that Lord Henry receives from Dorian?
Dorian announced his engagement to Sibyl Vane.
Why do Sibyl and her mother have to continue working at the theater?
Sibyl's mother is concerned with paying off their debts since Mr. Isaacs (Sibyl's manager at the theater) gave them 50 pounds and was able to provide James a proper outfit.
By what name does Sibyl Vane know Dorian?
What does Jim demand to know from his mother before he leaves for Australia?
Jim demands to know whether or not his mother was ever married to his father (he learns that she wasn't).
What threat does Jim make regarding "Prince Charming"?
Jim swears that if "Prince Charming" ever hurts Sibyl, he will kill him.
What does Lord Henry say is the "real drawback to marriage"?
Lord Henry claims that marriage makes people unselfish, and that unselfish people are colorless and lack individuality.
How does Dorian describe the details of his engagement to Sibyl Vane?
They'd kissed backstage after one of her performances. Dorian told Sibyl that he loved her, and she said that she was unworthy to be his wife. He didn't actually propose, but he considered himself engaged to her.
Lord Henry says that he represents what to Dorian?
Lord Henry says he represents all the sins that Dorian has not had the courage to commit.
When Lord Henry and Basil accompany Dorian to the theater, what happens to make Dorian angry?
Sibyl's performance was horrible. Lord Henry and Basil left during the show.
To which play does Dorian take Henry and Basil?
Romeo and Juliet
What explanation does Sibyl Vane offer Dorian regarding her performance?
She no longer desires to live the lives her characters, and she wishes to live in the real world with Dorian. She now sees the actors on the stage and not the characters she used to see. The reality has spoiled her acting. She can't pretend to be in love, now that she knows the consuming passion of real love.
What is Dorian's reaction to Sibyl's explanation for her poor performance?
Dorian says that he is no longer in love with her, and he will never see her again.
After he breaks off his relationship with Sibyl, what does Dorian notice about the painting Basil had done of him?
The painting has changed, and on the face of the painting "there was a touch of cruelty in the mouth."
What does Dorian realize when he sees the changes in the painting?
Dorian realizes how cruel he has been to Sibyl Vane, and he vows that he will make it up to her.
What does Dorian decide to do after he realizes what his cruelty has done to his soul?
He vows to never sin again so that the painting, like himself, will never change.
What news is in Lord Henry's letter that Dorian does not open?
Lord Henry's note says he has learned that Sibyl Vane died in an incident at the theater.
Why doesn't Dorian open the letter from Lord Henry when he receives it?
He wanted to reform his life, make things right with Sibyl, and no longer listen to Lord Henry's poisonous theories.
To what does Dorian compare Sibyl's death during his discussion with Lord Henry?
As to Shakespearean characters who have died tragically.
What choice does Dorian Gray make after Lord Henry points out how fortunate Dorian is that someone love him so much as to kill herself for him (this is in regard to the painting)?
Dorian chooses not to pray to reverse the conversation of the portrait, that is he chooses to follow his passions and to allow the painting "to bear the burden of his shame."
What does Dorian believe would be really interesting to witness (though having this thought makes him shudder)?
Dorian believes that it would be a real pleasure to watch the painting change while he physically remains the same.
Where does Basil believe Dorian had gone after learning the news about Sibyl?
Basil believes that Dorian went to comfort Sibyl's mother after the tragedy of Sibyl's death.
Where does Dorian actually go the evening, he learns of Sibyl's fate?
He goes to the opera with Lord Henry.
Whom does Basil blame for the changes to Dorian?
Basil blames Lord Henry for the negative changes in Dorian.
Dorian threatens never to speak to Basil again. Why?
Dorian doesn't want Basil to see the painting, so he threatens never to speak to Basil again if Basil looks at it.
What does Basil want to do with the portrait of Dorian that he painted?
Basil wants to exhibit the portrait in Paris.
Who is Mrs. Leaf?
She is Dorian Gray's housekeeper.
Where does Dorian Gray decide to hide the painting?
Dorian decides to move the painting into an old schoolroom at the top of his house and keep the painting under lock and key.
What does Lord Henry send to Dorian that completely fascinates him?
Lord Henry sends Dorian a book about a man who lived his life completely by fulfilling his senses.
Why is Dorian confident that he won't be implicated in Sibyl's death?
Sibyl's family doesn't know Dorian's name. Sibyl only mentioned him as 'Prince Charming" to her family.
Why is Dorian so caught up in the yellow book? In other words, why is it so important to him?
He is so caught up with it, he purchases nine of it and has them bound in various colors to match his changing moods. This book that Lord Henry gave to him has had a huge influence over his behaviors.
Why do people tend to disbelieve rumors about Dorian?
Because the portrait in his upstairs room absorbed all the aging and marks of sin, Dorian's youthful beauty keeps people from believing the worst about him—this shows the hypocrisy of Victorian society. They have shunned other corrupt young men, but Dorian's looks keep in the most elite circles in England.
What is the purpose of elaborating on all of the things that have interested Dorian over the last 18 years?
Is shows the purpose of Dorian, over a period of several years, delves into many areas of interest. Dorian studies embroidered clothing, tapestries, jewels, perfumes, the ritual of Roman catholic schism, mysticism, and music, When he gets bored with one topic, he moves on to the next.
To which city does Basil tell Dorian he plans to travel?
Basil tells Dorian that he is leaving for Paris for a six months' stay.
What is it that Basil wishes to speak to Dorian about before leaving?
Basil wants to know the truth about the terrible rumors that are going around town surrounding Dorian's moral character
What sort of fate have many of Dorian's acquaintances met?
Those who were closest to Dorian have lost their respectable reputations in society.
What does Basil claim that he would have to see before he could believe anything he's heard about Dorian's activities?
Basil claims that he would have to see Dorian's soul before he could believe any of the rumors he's heard about Dorian.
To what does Dorian compare the painting during his conversation with Basil?
He compares to the portrait of his life.
What does Basil see when he looks at the portrait he painted of Dorian? (Be specific!)
Basil sees an aging man who had the look of a satyr. The cruelty of the mouth and the evil in it's eyes horrifies him.
What does Basil implore Dorian to do after seeing the condition of the painting?
Basil begs Dorian to get on his knees and pray to God for forgiveness of his sins. "Through your sins be a scarlet, I (God) will make them white as snow."
What does Basil blame himself for?
Basil blames himself because he was not able to change Dorian's character from his past actions.
What does Dorian to do Basil and Why?
Dorian viciously stabs Basil in the neck with an artist's knife.
What does Dorian do to provide himself with an alibi regarding Basil's death?
Dorian goes outside and bangs on his door to awake his servants, In doing so his servants will provide him an alibi that he returned home anger Basil has gone.
What is Dorian searching for in a book at the end of this chapter?
A guy name Alan Campbell.
While Dorian waits for a reply from Alan, he begins sketching. What seems to appear in all of his drawings?
Basil Hallward's face begins to appear in all of his sketches.
Basil Hallward's face begins to appear in all of his sketches.
Alan Campbell tries to put what has happened in their friendship in the past.
In what particular field of study does Alan specialize?
Alan Campbell specializes in the field of science, particularly chemistry.
What request does Dorian Gray make of Alan Campbell?
Dorian asks Alan Campbell to dispose of Basil's body through the use of chemicals and fire.
Why does Alan Campbell agree to do as Dorian asks?
Dorian blackmails Alan Campbell with some deed from his past when he and Dorian had been friends.
Later in the novel, readers find out that Alan Campbell died how?
He commits suicide.
What does Lord Henry ask Dorian at Lady Narbourough's party that makes Dorian nervous?
Lord Henry asked where he went after leaving early the night before.
What "things that were dangerous" does Dorian believe had to be dealt with immediately upon arriving home from Lady Narborough's dinner party?
Dorian feels that he needs to immediately destroy all evidence that Basil had returned to the house, so he buries Basil's ulster and bag.
At this point in the novel, Dorian believes that he cannot be forgiven for what he's done. Therefore, he thinks that all he can do is forget. How does he plan to help himself forget? What words did Lord Henry say the first day he met Dorian that now repeatedly play through Dorian's mind?
On the day they had met, Lord Henry told Dorian that one could "cure the soul by means of the senses and the senses by means of the soul."
What former friend does Dorian see at the opium house?
Adrian Singleton, a man who had had once been a close friend, but whose life was ruined through his association with Dorian.
Who is the drunken sailor who accuses Dorian Gray in the street?
James Vane, Sibyl's brother
How did the sailor know that he was Dorian Gray?
James heard a woman calling Dorian Gray "Prince Charming."
Why doesn't the drunken sailor shoot Dorian?
Dorian tells James to put under a light to prove that he is around 20 years old and couldn't possibly be the one who hurt Sibyl 18 years ago.
When Gladys (a woman who is interested in Dorian) tells Lord Henry he values beauty far too much, what is his response?
Lord Henry admits he thinks it is better to be beautiful than to be good , but acknowledged gets better to be good than ugly.
According to Lord Henry what three things, "have made...England what she is"?
Lord Henry says, "Beer, the Bible, and the seven deadly virtues have made our England what she is."
What does Dorian believe he had seen through the window of the conservatory?
Dorian believes he saw the face of James Vane watching him.
What does Dorian blame for raising "such fearful phantoms" that keep him in his house for three days?
He blames his conscience.
What does Dorian beg Sir Geoffrey not to do?
Dorian begs Sir Geoffrey not to shoot a hare that was jumping into a thicket.
What happens that Dorian Gray proclaims is a "bad omen"?
Sir Geoffrey ignores Dorian's request not to shoot at the hare. He shoots into the thicket, but there is a man hiding there. Dorian believes that the shooting of this man is a bad omen of things to come.
Who is the man that was killed in the forest?
The man is James Vane. He has been hiding in the thicket intending to kill Dorian.
What does Dorian promise he will do in the future?
Dorian promises that he will be good in the future.
Who is Hetty?
Hetty is a young peasant girl with whom Dorian had planned to run away.
What does Dorian do, for Hetty's sake?
Once he decides to be "good, " Dorian believes that leaving her while she is still pure would be the best thing for her.
What does Dorian tell Lord Henry that Henry immediately dismisses as impossible to believe?
Dorian tells Lord Henry that he killed Basil. Lord Henry thinks this is impossible since a man's sins would show in his face, and Dorian's face is still as beautiful and youthful as the day they met.
What does Dorian claim is a "terrible reality... that...can be bought, and sold, and bartered away"?
Dorian says this about the soul.
What is Dorian "tired of hearing...now"?
- Dorian is tired of hearing the sound of his own name coming from others.
What does Dorian believe should be the prayer of man to a most just God instead of "forgive us our sins"?
He believes that man's prayer to a most just God should be "smite us for our iniquities."
Why does Dorian go to look at his portrait while thinking of Hetty Merton?
Dorian believes that the picture must now be shedding its ugliness since he has decided to become good, and he had committed a "good deed" by leaving Hetty.
Dorian specifically said that God tells man that he must do what, in order to be forgiven for sins?
He must confess them to heaven.
What happens to Dorian Gray? Why?
Dorian attempts to destroy the painting by stabbing it. However, when the servants break into the room (after hearing a loud cry of anguish), they find an old decrepit man with a knife in his heart next to a beautiful painting of Dorian Gray. They only recognize the dead man as their master when they see his rings. "
Who is the only person that Dorian shows the painting to?
About how many years elapse between the death of Sibyl Vane and the death of her brother
18 years old
Who does Dorian meet in the opium den?
What gift from Lord Henry does Dorian blame for playing a large part of his corruption?
The yellow book
What instrument does Dorian play?
What is James Vane's occupation?
How old is Dorian when Basil completes the painting?
20 years old
Art as a Mirror of Oneself
One's interpretation of art is a reflection of one's own soul. This is why it's important that the artist avoid making his/her message super clear. In this case, Wilde was worried that his message or moral was a bit too clear in this novel.
Vanity as Original Sin
Vanity is an excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance, achievements, or abilities which causes the fall of Adam, just as with Dorian. It is an incredibly dangerous sin. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with our own vanity on some level.
The Duplicity of One's Public and Private Selves
Most people conduct themselves differently in their private lives than in their public lives. Why are we duplicitous? What are we hiding? What do we hide in our own souls? Wilde thought that it wasn't good to keep our secret sins inside. He is clearly advocating for transparency/confessing here on earth.
The Value of Beauty and Youth
Of what value is beauty and youth? Wilde admits that although beauty is divine, there is a huge danger in valuing one's appearance over everything else, especially the soul. Dorian values youth and beauty above his soul.
Influence/Corruption/The Power of Suggestion
At what point is one fully responsible for his/her actions? Wilde seems to think that ultimately, Dorian is responsible for his own actions, though Dorian often blames Lord Henry, and yet ignores his role in the demise of others. Yes, we cannot blame the devil or other influences for our actions, but we will have to answer for our role in leading others into sin (EVEN IF it is ultimately their choice to sin).
The Superficial Nature of Society
Despite Dorian's actions, he remains at the heart of society because of his looks. Victorian England spews their morals constantly, and yet are VERY into appearances and "decorum".
The soul/conscience exists, therefore we must ask ourselves what the price for our soul is? This may seem extreme, but we choose against our soul every day. What are we gaining? What is the price for our souls? In addition, if one doesn't repent, one will not be forgiven, Catholicism/Christianity.
Other sets by this creator
interpersonal communication - ch 5 & 6
interpersonal communication - ch 12 & 13
interpersonal communication - chapter 1 & 2
COMM - Chapter 14
Other Quizlet sets
Cardio & Respiratory Test (CSUF A&P)
Lord of the Flies (reading guide questions)
Kaplan Ch. 9 NBDHE