I have something to say about Dorian Gray and his picture. On page 147 I annotated the following: “this book is about perceptions, what is more important, how you are or how you are remembered DG hasn’t thought that far ahead, but he will be remembered as old + evil.” At this point in the book he is looking at a picture of one of his ancestors. The narrator says: “He knew her life, and the strange stories that were told about her lovers…” then about another relative: “how evil he looked!” Dorian comments on the appearance of all of his ancestors and how he might resemble them, but he never thinks about how his picture will be remembered. He probably thinks that no one will see the picture.
The thing is, Dorian Gray is not a good person. He keeps his youth and his beauty, but his soul is scarred. His portrait should reflect that. Wouldn’t that make sense? In real life, Dorian would remain beautiful, but he would be remembered as old, ugly and evil– would that be a fair trade off? What matters more– how you are remembered or how you exist? Generally, one would hope that the two things are the same. In the case of Dorian Gray, even after his death, he remains beautiful. His corpse is old and withered, but he is dead and people will not see the corpse. It’s appearance will be a legend told to grandchildren of servants and nobles, but no one knows the truth. So, did Dorian win in all ways? Why should he have? He was apparently a terrible person. What is more important to a legacy, a portrait or the stories?
Fall is upon us and life begins again according to F. Scott Fitzgerald…