radiantly handsome, impressionable, and wealthy young gentleman,
whose portrait the artist Basil Hallward paints. Under the influence
of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian becomes extremely concerned with the transience
of his beauty and begins to pursue his own pleasure above all else.
He devotes himself to having as many experiences as possible, whether
moral or immoral, elegant or sordid.
in-depth analysis of Dorian Gray.
Lord Henry Wotton
A nobleman and a close friend of Basil Hallward.
Urbane and witty, Lord Henry is perpetually armed and ready with
well-phrased epigrams criticizing the moralism and hypocrisy of
Victorian society. His pleasure-seeking philosophy of “new Hedonism,”
which espouses garnering experiences that stimulate the senses without
regard for conventional morality, plays a vital role in Dorian’s
in-depth analysis of Lord Henry Wotton.
artist, and a friend of Lord Henry. Basil becomes obsessed with
Dorian after meeting him at a party. He claims that Dorian possesses
a beauty so rare that it has helped him realize a new kind of art;
through Dorian, he finds “the lines of a fresh school.” Dorian also
helps Basil realize his artistic potential, as the portrait of Dorian
that Basil paints proves to be his masterpiece.
in-depth analysis of Basil Hallward.
poor, beautiful, and talented actress with whom Dorian falls in
love. Sibyl’s love for Dorian compromises her ability to act, as
her experience of true love in life makes her realize the falseness
of affecting emotions onstage.
brother, a sailor bound for Australia. James cares deeply for his
sister and worries about her relationship with Dorian. Distrustful
of his mother’s motives, he believes that Mrs. Vane’s interest in Dorian’s
wealth disables her from properly protecting Sibyl. As a result,
James is hesitant to leave his sister.
and James’s mother. Mrs. Vane is a faded actress who has consigned
herself and her daughter to a tawdry theater company, the owner
of which has helped her to pay her debts. She conceives of Dorian Gray
as a wonderful alliance for her daughter because of his wealth;
this ulterior motive, however, clouds her judgment and leaves Sibyl
an intimate friend, Alan Campbell is one of many promising young
men who have severed ties with Dorian because of Dorian’s sullied
Henry’s aunt. Lady Agatha is active in charity work in the London
Henry’s irascible uncle. Lord Fermor tells Henry the story of Dorian’s
Duchess of Monmouth
A pretty, bored young noblewoman who flirts with
Dorian at his country estate.
Lord Henry’s wife. Victoria appears only once in the
novel, greeting Dorian as he waits for Lord Henry. She is described
as an untidy, foolishly romantic woman with “a perfect mania for
going to church.”
servant. Although Victor is a trustworthy servant, Dorian becomes
suspicious of him and sends him out on needless errands to ensure
that he does not attempt to steal a glance at Dorian’s portrait.
Gray’s housekeeper. Mrs. Leaf is a bustling older woman who takes
her work seriously.