Oscar Wilde and The Picture Of Dorian Gray!

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.

This article is about one of the greatest writer ever to be born on this earth and how by chance I got to read about his life and his best work ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’.

It all started when I was reading ‘The Simple Truth’ by David Baldacci and he started his book with a phrase by Oscar Wilde ‘Truth is rarely pure and never simple’. It was when I started seriously thinking about Oscar Wilde and his sayings. How his quotes from 1890’s are still so perfect in 21st century. But this quote wasn’t enough in making me gripped to the idea of Oscar Wilde which almost every person in the literary world is gripped to.

The other day I was watching ‘Paris Je Taime’, one of the best French movies of our time. It consisted of 18 stories and one of them was about a couple who had visited Paris to see the grave of Oscar Wilde. Their conversation led me to believe that Oscar was some kind of a literary legend. His life was worth reading and sharing. But it still wasn’t enough for me to spend some time and look into his life.

So 3 weeks back I was in a restaurant with my friends and one of them quotes ‘When poverty creeps in from the door, love flies out of the window.’ And when I asked about the quote I was told that it was written by Oscar Wilde.

So these back to back incidents took me closer to reading what I today believe is one of the best writing and portrayal of characters I had ever read. Simply Unbelievable.


First I read about Oscar and how he wrote his only novel named ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’. How this book was used as an evidence to sentence him for 7 years in jail. And how slowly yet cruelly one of the greatest writers was turned miserable and pitiful. He wrote short stories but he couldn’t leave anything substantial after ‘The Picture….

I was elated when I started reading it and on the first page itself Oscar quotes ‘There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and it is not being talked about’.

A brief summary of the book:

Basil, a friend of Dorian Gray, draws a portrait of Dorian. The portrait is just as sublime and pristine as Dorian was at that time. Dorian wishes that his beauty and charm never fades away. He wished that he would stay as he was, young and beautiful, and rather the portrait gets old and hideous as people got with age. Somehow his wish comes true. Some gruesome events unfold after that.

It, in other words, says that art is not the moral responsibility. Art should strive only to be a beautiful object separate from its creator. Dorian who lived his life as if it was the work of art unconnected to the questions of ethics, dies by his own hand. People cannot stay separate from morality but art can. Wilde himself said that the book contained moral and that was its ‘only flaw’.

It was not what I expected. It was not a page turner but rather a glorious journey to imbibe in your mind and cherish all your life. There weren’t many characters but those limited characters would lead a route to your heart and plan to stay there forever.


Edit: I got a  chance to visit Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris and believe me when I say it was one of the best experiences I ever had.

Man is least himself when talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde


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