I. Discuss the passage of time in the novel and how it influences our impression of characters and events, especially the glossing-over of 18 years in chapter 11.
II. Basil Hallward: “Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man’s face. It cannot be concealed. People talk sometimes of secret vices. There are no such things.” (p126)
“Each of us has Heaven and Hell in him, Basil” cried Dorian with a wild gesture of despair. (p131)
- Is Dorian responsible for the ruined lives of his friends? Is Lord Henry responsible for the ruined life of Dorian? When is someone responsible?
- How does Dorian manipulate those around him?
III. Lord Henry: “I admit that I think it is better to be beautiful than to be good. But on the other hand no one is more ready than I am to acknowledge that it is better to be good than to be ugly.” (p161)
- Is Lord Henry’s belief in the freedom of the individual truly evil? Or does Dorian misconstrue it? Does Lord Henry actually practice the ideas he espouses? Does he understand the real life consequences his ideas would have, or does he exhibit a sort of naïveté?
- Dorian’s scandalous behavior shocks his peers, yet he remains welcome in social circles? Why? What is Wilde suggesting about “polite” London society?
IV. Dorian: “I have done too many dreadful things in my life. I am not going to do any more. I began my good actions yesterday.” (p173)
3. What were the results of Wilde’s time in prison?
4. Explain how have some people been affected by the media’s hype on youth and beauty?
5. What is a theme in Dorian Gray?
6. Who was Bishop Fisher?
7. What does Henry Wotton represent?
8. Why is it that Sybil’s brother is killed in the hunting accident?
9. When Dorian rejected Sybil, what did he set into motion?
10. What is the relevance of Dorian Gray today?
11. Describe Dorian’s Gray’s character before he met Henry Wotton.