The Picture of Dorian Gray
Important Quotations Explained
are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle
broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has
done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. . . . Resist
it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has
forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have
made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events
of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the
brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.
be good is to be in harmony with one’s self,” he replied, touching
the thin stem of his glass with his pale, fine-pointed fingers.
“Discord is to be forced to be in harmony with others. One’s own
life—that is the important thing. As for the lives of one’s neighbours,
if one wishes to be a prig or a Puritan, one can flaunt one’s moral
views about them, but they are not one’s concern. Besides, Individualism
has really the higher aim. Modern morality consists in accepting
the standard of one’s age. I consider that for any man of culture to
accept the standard of his age is a form of the grossest immorality.”
there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that
was to re-create life, and to save it from that harsh, uncomely
puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival.
It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly; yet it was
never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice
of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be
experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter
as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as
of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing.
But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of
a life that is itself but a moment.
civilized society at least, is never very ready to believe anything
to the detriment of those who are both rich and fascinating. It
feels instinctively that manners are of more importance than morals,
and, in its opinion, the highest respectability is of much less
value than the possession of a good chef. And, after all, it is
a very poor consolation to be told that the man who has given one
a bad dinner, or poor wine, is irreproachable in his private life. Even
the cardinal virtues cannot atone for half-cold entrées, as Lord
Henry remarked once, in a discussion on the subject; and there is
possibly a good deal to be said for his view. For the canons of
good society are, or should be, the same as the canons of art. Form
is absolutely essential to it. It should have the dignity of a ceremony,
as well as its unreality, and should combine the insincere character
of a romantic play with the wit and beauty that make such plays delightful
to us. Is insincerity such a terrible thing? I think not. It is
merely a method by which we can multiply our personalities.
poisoned me with a book once. I should not forgive that. Harry,
promise me that you will never lend that book to anyone. It does
“My dear boy, you are really beginning to moralize. You will soon be going about like the converted, and the revivalist, warning people against all the sins of which you have grown tired. You are much too delightful to do that.... As for being poisoned by a book, there is no such thing as that. Art has no influence upon action. It annihilates the desire to act. It is superbly sterile. The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
by Aecio, April 14, 2013
In the end of the book, when Dorian stabs his cursed picture: Does it mean his soul is pure again, for his dead body now endures his age and sins while the picture that represented his soul is young again, or it's just about his curse being broken?
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