The Picture of Dorian Gray Questions and Answers
by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
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What are the internal and external conflicts in The Picture of Dorian Gray?

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Dorian Gray's internal conflict is that he wants to stay forever young so he can enjoy life to its fullest, but he knows that he must age and die like everyone else in the world. He realizes that as his body absorbs and displays the signs of his debauchery, it will become harder and harder to engage in his pleasures. He expresses a deep internal desire for eternal youth.

His external conflict comes from making a pact with the devil. Dorian sells his soul to the devil so that a beautiful picture of himself absorbs his aging while his own physical body remains young and unmarred. He achieves a life of endless pleasure and vice. But, ultimately, the external life his bargain with the devil enables becomes unsatisfactory.

Internal and external conflicts come to a head when Dorian stabs and kills Basil, the artist who paints the lovely portrait of him. Basil, who has true artistic vision, had been encouraging Dorian away from his life of self-indulgent hedonism. After Dorian murders his...

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