The Picture of Dorian Gray

by: Oscar Wilde

Good vs. Evil

1

I love Sibyl Vane. I want to place her on a pedestal of gold and to see the world worship the woman who is mine. What is marriage? An irrevocable vow. You mock at it for that. Ah! don’t mock. It is an irrevocable vow that I want to take. Her trust makes me faithful, her belief makes me good. When I am with her, I regret all that you have taught me. I become different from what you have known me to be. I am changed, and the mere touch of Sibyl Vane’s hand makes me forget you and all your wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories.

Dorian responds to Lord Henry’s questioning his need for marriage to Sibyl Vane. Until Dorian met Lord Henry, he led an innocuous life, innocent of any wrongdoing. Lord Henry has acted as an influence of evil in Dorian’s life, an influence that Dorian embraced. However, after meeting Sibyl, Dorian begins to question all he has learned from Lord Henry. Dorian feels pulled in two different directions, good and evil.

2

He was prisoned in thought. Memory, like a horrible malady, was eating his soul away. From time to time he seemed to see the eyes of Basil Hallward looking at him. Yet he felt he could not stay. The presence of Adrian Singleton troubled him. He wanted to be where no one would know who he was. He wanted to escape from himself.

The narrator reveals Dorian’s inner thoughts and feelings after he arrives at the opium den. Now that Dorian has corrupted other people and committed murder, he knows that he has fully given up on trying to live a good life and can be considered evil. In his mind’s eye he sees Basil, who appears as a timeless paragon of goodness, as well as memories of his former life, and Dorian cannot bear the guilt. Other than when he viewed his marred portrait, this reflection represents the first time Dorian realizes the consequences of his actions and feels any remorse.