The Picture of Dorian Gray

by: Oscar Wilde

Mortality

Quotes Mortality
How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June…. If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that—for that—I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!

Dorian has just seen the finished portrait of himself and makes a wish that he has no idea will come true. Although he does not expect his wish to be granted, the timeless portrait’s grim reminder of the fleeting nature of beauty arouses Dorian’s desperation to find a way to stop aging. His claim that he would give his soul in exchange for eternal youth reveals how much he fears his own mortality.

The next day he did not leave the house, and, indeed, spent most of the time in his own room, sick with a wild terror of dying, and yet indifferent to life itself.

The narrator explains how Dorian responds after seeing James Vane in the window of his country home and fainting from the sight. Dorian fears that James Vane has come to kill him as revenge for his sister’s suicide. However, he does not care much about the value of his own life in the moment, and it seems he never has. Even when finally faced with his own mortality, Dorian does not feel the need to make his life worthwhile.