The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 3 -7

Chapter 3

  • “genial” “rough-mannered old bachelor” – description of Lord Fermor. This character shows the unnecessary extravagance of the upper classes “He had two large town houses, but preferred to live in chambers”, and the hypocrisy, “he was a Tory, except when the Tories were in office.”
  • Money seems like everything, yet Lord Henry suggests that when people grow older they know that. Shows the typical upper class attitude towards money.
  • Lots of background information on Dorian. His mother was Lady Margaret Devereux, a very beautiful woman who ran off with a “penniless young fellow, a mere nobody”. This accounts for Dorian’s beauty and maybe even the root of his bitterness later on in the novel, no parental figures to guide him as his mother died within a year and his father died in a “duel at Spa”. Margaret described as one of the “loveliest creatures” – similar to how Sibyl is described later on in the book.
  • Dorian is described as Lady Agatha’s latest protege, yet he is also Lord Henry’s protege, his muse.
  • Lord Henry decides to corrupt Dorian, although he has been doing so already: “Yes; he would try to be to Dorian Gray what, without knowing it, the lad was to the painter”, “He would seek to dominate him”. Shows Lord Henry’s aims, which succeed but to a much heavier extent than Lord Henry had imagined
  • Lots of discussion about America, time when many men moved to America, people are curious. It was “rather fashionable to marry Americans” and most of the upper classes at Aunt Agatha’s seem discreetly racist: “why can’t they stay in their own country?”
  • “I wished you would tell me how to become young again” – great irony as it is due to Lord Henry that Dorian will always seem young. He tells the Duchess to “repeat” her “follies” to get youth, also ironic as this seems to be exactly what Dorian does, doing evil.
  • “Of all people in the world the English have the least sense of the beauty of literature” – a slight comment, maybe retaliating to the many English critics of the novel or even pre-empting the uproar the book would cause.
  • “I would sooner come with you” Dorian is now Lord Henry’s – he is infatuated and would rather see him than Basil
  • “All I want now is to look at life” Lord Henry invites Dorian into his own life, and wishes to view Dorian who has become his new life to play with and influence.

Chapter 4

  • “Dorian Gray was reclining” – obviously comfortable in Lord Henry’s house
  • “olive-stained oak” “satinwood table” a Parisian and aesthetic description, linking to nature. Shows the fashionable tastes of Lord Henry.
  • “It is only his wife.” – She knows her place, she is second best to Lord Henry’s lovers and friends.
  • The fact that Lord Henry owns 18 photos of Dorian shows his obsession, as in those days photographs were very expensive and would have to be done professionally,
  • “She was usually in love with somebody” shows that she is not in love with Lord Henry, the marriage between them is almost like a business contract.
  • “thin lips” – the language used gives imagery of delicacy and weakness, “tortoiseshell paper-knife”
  • “If one hears bad music, it is one’s duty to drown it in conversation” a view of Lord Henry’s – he is influenced. Lady Henry realises this and says that she only hears he husbands opinions through his friends, this shows the lack of communication and love between them.
  • “Perhaps it is that they are foreigners” – Lady Henry likes foreigners, opposite view to Lord Henry and the aristocracy in the previous chapter,
  • Lady Henry seems easily impressed and produces meaningless statements: “Makes it quite cosmopolitan”
  • “looking like a bird of paradise that had been out all night in the rain” a dour image, negative, shows how she used to be beautiful but age has had an effect.
  • “Women are a decorative sex” a typical view of an aristocratic male
  • “Ah! Harry, your views terrify me” – irony as at the end Dorian terrifies Lord Henry with how he has changed.
  • “I should think The Idiot Boy, or Dumb but Innocent” very snobbish, as if a good play could not be shown in a shabby place with a “hideous Jew” at the door.
  • “This play was good enough for us” – Dorian separates the upper classes from the lower classes, as if they are better and only deserve to see classic plays
  • “with a little flower-like face, a small Greek head with plaited coils of dark brown hair” – a description not dissimilar to the description of Dorian at the beginning of the book. “There is something of a child about her”
  • Dorian’s love of Sibyl is very similar to Basil’s love of Dorian at the beginning of the book, “I wish I had not told you about Sibyl Vane”, “Sibyl Vane is sacred!” Dorian needs to see Sibyl in a play every day, even if only for “one act” rather similar to how Basil has to see Dorian daily.
  • We see why Dorian gets away with hideous crimes, because people like Dorian, “the wilful sunbeams of life – don’t commit crimes”.
  • “I must call you Prince Charming” – very infantile, childish, fanatical love, almost a fantasy, still living in one of her plays
  • “Tonight she is Imogen” – mainly talks about her in terms of a character, not in terms of Sibyl
  • “Then we must get her out of the Jew’s hands” – talks as if he is to be her saviour, saving her from the “hideous Jew” and the decrepit theatre
  • “Good artists exist simply in what they make,” seems to insinuate that Wilde exists simply in the book, almost autobiographical. These good artists are “consequently perfectly uninteresting” from Lord Henry’s view – showing his attitude towards Basil
  • “Imogen is waiting for me.” – notice that it’s not Sibyl.
  • “It made him a more interesting study” – this makes it seem as if Dorian is but a scientific experiment and that Sibyl is only a new factor that may lead to new developments
  • “One could never pay too high a price for any sensation.” – a dangerous statement that could cause a man’s downfall into immorality
  • “reminded him it was time to dress for dinner” – very much in keeping with the idea of aristocracy and extravagance
  • “The panes glowed like plates of heated metal. The sky above was like a faded rose.” – the description of the outside gives the image of danger, fire and sexuality, linking to the major themes in the novel
  • “engaged to be married to Sibyl Vane” – Dorian tells Lord Henry first, trusts him (like Basil did when he let him dine with Dorian). Dorian is engaged to marry Sibyl, not Imogen or Juliet, she is referred to by her real name.

Chapter 5

  • “sitting in the one armchair that their dingy sitting-room contained” – detail of the homes of the lower classes are lacking, probably due to the fact that Wilde literally didn’t know the conditions they lived in, and thus made assumptions, “The flies buzzed around the table, and crawled over the stained cloth”
  • ” ‘I am so happy!’ she repeated, ‘and you must be happy too!’ ” Sibyl has a very childlike view on life and happiness, very dreamy, she “pouts” when she doesn’t understand, an infantile mannerism. Later on – “Her little feet pattered” – constantly referred to as a child.
  • “thin bismuth-whitened hands” gives a negative portrayal of the lower classes, not eating much, not cleaning the stage make up off of themselves etc
  • “Prince Charming rules life for us now” – shows her infatuation with Dorian, he has complete manipulative control of her now.
  • “though I feel so much beneath him” – even she knows that in social respects she is not worthy to be married to him,
  • “But it only pains you because you loved him so much” – innocent and naivety, she doesn’t think there could be any other reason for her mother to not wish to speak of Sibyl’s father, couldn’t imagine any dark secrets.
  • “thick-set of figure,” “clumsy” – negative and uneducated portrayal of James Vane, almost seems like an animal, his description doesn’t seem to connect with his caring and protective personality.
  • “She mentally elevated her son to the dignity of an audience” – all that Mrs Vane thinks about is the stage and theatre, which is shown through Wilde constantly referring to her and her thoughts using theatrical terms
  • “horrid London” – he doesn’t want to live there anymore, he looks forward to a new and prosperous future
  • “Only swell people go to the Park” – the Park is a place that he upper classes go to ‘be seen’, and so James thinks that he is too “shabby” to go, as he isn’t dressed in finery
  • “Don’t let her come to any harm.” James is very sensible, can see what might happen, he is very protective.
  • Mrs Vane is only concerned with who he is, as he’s “probably a member of the aristocracy” – and all she wants is to make an appropriate match for Sibyl, especially for financial reasons.
  • “James Vane bit his lip. ‘Watch over Sibyl mother,’ ” he repeats his warning, and seems very like Basil. James bites his lip, something that Basil does many times, and he warns Mrs Vane about trouble that may come, like Basil warns Dorian about the troubles that may come if he lets Lord Henry influence him. Both James and Basil are right.
  • “This young dandy who was making love to her could mean her no good” – James realises exactly what Dorian is like.
  • “Someday you will meet him” – irony as he does meet him when he returns, to attempt to murder him.
  • “He wants to enslave you.” Is this an interpretation of what marriage is for women?
  • “Someday you will be in love yourself” Sibyl treats this like a new character in a play
  • “I shall kill him.” This threat is almost like the second oath sworn, Dorian swears that he’d give his soul to be young forever and James swears that he will kill Dorian if he ever does wrong to Sibyl. In both cases the scenario comes true, Dorian gets his youth and also does wrong to Sibyl, but James gets the chance to kill Dorian but doesn’t as he has never seen him.
  • “kill him like  dog” – uses very dramatic language, the most dramatic out of all the family which is ironic as he is the only one who doesn’t take part in the theatre, he hates that his sister and mother have to be in plays.

Chapter 6

  • “I suppose you have heard the news, Basil?” Lord Henry breaks the news to Basil, showing a shift in relations, Dorian trusts Lord Henry more. Lord Henry telling Basil could be a form of mockery.
  • “I have a distinct remembrance of being married” – dismisses marriage, it is a mechanical activity, expecting to marry
  • “If you want to make him marry this girl tell him that,” Lord Henry seems to be very accurate in psychology.
  • “I don’t want to see Dorian tied to some vile creature,” – ironic as Dorian becomes the vile creature in the end
  • “she is beautiful” Lord Henry only sees the surface
  • “Your portrait of him has quickened his appreciation of the personal appearances of other people.” – here Lord Henry seems to blame Basil for Dorian’s change
  • “silly infatuation” treats Dorian like a child.
  • “They are forced to have more than one life” – Lord Henry has a life with his wife, lover, friends, aristocrats, business partners etc,
  • “You don’t mean a single word of that, Harry;” Basil and Lord Henry act like parents to Dorian, Basil always thinks highly of Lord Henry, and is very protective and maternal towards Dorian.
  • “the one thing I’ve been looking for all my life” – Dorian has probably been looking for companionship for most of his life as he had no parent figures, no initial companionship
  • “You let Harry know” Basil gently chides Dorian for not telling him.
  • Sibyl described similarly to Dorian once again, using nature, giving the ideas about the aesthetic movement: “moss-coloured velvet”, “cinnamon sleeves”
  • “kissed Juliet on the mouth” – still refers to Sibyl as character.
  • Dorian has a romantic view of marriage, it is not a “business transaction”.
  • “His nature is too fine for that” – sheer admiration of Dorian, yet irony as his nature isn’t fine at all!
  • “But then the middles classes are not modern.” – a typical upper class view of a lower class
  • “I cannot understand how anyone can wish to shame the thing he loves” irony as Dorian shames Sybil, the reason he does so is the change in him due to Lord Henry, instigated by his “wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.”
  • “Beautiful sins” are the “privilege of the rich” – immoral view on how actions work, seems to think that because he is rich he can be immoral.
  • “I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit” another interesting statement as Lord Henry is the reason the painting becomes a representation of all the sins that Dorian does commit
  • “Still, your wonderful girl may thrill me” – becomes apparent that Lord Henry may want to corrupt Sibyl so that Dorian won’t marry her.
  • “there is only room for two” Lord Henry separates the “painter” from him and Dorian.
  • “He could not bear this marriage, and yet it seemed to him to be better than many other things that might have happened.” It is better for Dorian to marry Sibyl than begin an affair with Lord Henry.
  • “blurred to his eyes” once again Basil is crying as he has lost Dorian.

Chapter 7

  • The Jew is described with language that makes him seem corrupt, and Dorian dislikes him, despite the fact that he will become corrupt. Lord Henry “rather liked him” which makes sense as he is corrupt.
  • “he had came to look for Miranda and had been met by Caliban” – he had come to see the beauty of Sibyl but had been met by the ugliness of the Jew.
  • “These common, rough people, with their coarse faces and brutal gestures, become quite different when she is on the stage” Sibyl is elevated to a Godlike figure, being able to transform even the lowest of classes into decently behaved individuals
  • “The same flesh and blood as oneself! Oh, I hope not!” Lord Henry cannot bear to even think of being the same as the working class
  • “A faint blush” in Lord Henry’s eyes she is once again described in an aesthetic way, similar to Dorian’s descriptions, as looks are all Lord Henry considers
  • “were spoken in a thoroughly artificial manner” – her acting has grown false now she knows real love
  • Ironic that the first time Dorian sees the real Sibyl is the first time in the play Romeo sees Juliet.
  • “She was a complete failure” – let Dorian down in front of his friends
  • “They got restless” even the uneducated lower classes could tell that she wasn’t good and grew bored, the opposite effect of what Dorian had promised.
  • “The hot tears came to his eyes. His lips trembled, and, rushing to the back of the box, he leaned up against the wall, hiding his face in his hands.” a very adolescent reaction, an immature tantrum.
  • “You have no idea what I suffered.” Dorian is selfish when he confronts Sibyl, only thinks of himself, yet he thinks highly of his friends, putting them first, “My friends were bored. I was bored.” – very blunt with her.
  • “you freed my soul from prison. You taught me what reality really is.” no longer wants to act as she can understand love now, cannot merely act it anymore.
  • “Prince of life!” Similar to how Dorian revered Sibyl, here she reveres him,
  • “You have killed my love” – he never loved Sibyl, only really loved the characters and the mannerisms of her acting.
  • “a shudder ran through him” when she touched him, maybe he realised his homosexuality and realised he doesn’t find a woman’s touch appealing.
  • “You have thrown it all away” – she has thrown her life and talents, the “gold” of her life for Dorian’s love.
  • “I will never think of you. I will never mention your name.” Dorian is callous and cold to Sibyl, “Acting! I leave that to you. You do it so well.”
  • “a trampled flower” now her love has gone she is still described like nature, but similarly to Lady Henry, in a dour and negative way
  • “crouched on the floor like a wounded thing” – she has nothing left now, makes her seem helpless, like a child or an animal.
  • “looked down at her” – shows his bitter attitude, also looking down due to her class.
  • “lines of cruelty round the mouth” – he has done wrong and thus the painting has changed, first supernatural happening
  • “Had he been cruel?” Starts to regret, showing that his conscience is still intact.
  • “Why had such a soul been given to him?” Doesn’t take responsibility for his cruelty, blames God for giving him a soul that could do that.
  • “She was nothing to him now.” Bitter – tries to dismiss.
  • “Would it teach him to loathe his own soul” – irony as it does at the end.
  • “But he would not sin” – swears another oath, to make amends with Sibyl, “try to love her again” but only out of duty and respectability. He never fulfils this oath however, they are but false promises to right his wrongs
  • Irony as he talks about seeing Sibyl in the morning, yet she is probably already dead by the time he thinks this.

Thanks for reading,

Jack

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