The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray book cover
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What is the overall theme in the story "The Picture of Dorian Gray"?

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The primary theme explored throughout the novel concerns the dangers of valuing appearances over morality and ethics. Lord Henry Wotton, Basil Hallward, and Dorian Gray all place a significant value on appearances and are obsessed with beauty, whether it be in the form of art or humanity. Initially, Basil Hallward is captivated by Dorian Gray's image and paints his portrait to satisfy his own desires. Lord Henry Wotton then informs Dorian Gray that his youthful image is his most precious commodity and laments on the transient nature of youth, which enlightens the innocent Dorian Gray, who desperately wishes to remain young and attractive.

After Dorian Gray discovers that his youth will never fade because his portrait magically reflects his corrupt soul and aging appearance, he proceeds to indulge in a life of debauchery and crime. Despite adopting the tenets of "a new Hedonism," breaking Sibyl Vane's heart, and frequenting London's debased underground scene, Dorian Gray's image remains...

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