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'The Picture of Dorian Gray' Quotes

Oscar Wilde's Famous (and Controversial) Novel

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

W.W. Norton & Company

The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde's only known novel. The work first appeared in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890, and it was revised and published as a novel the following year. The work was considered scandalous and immoral when it first appeared, but it was really a way for Wilde to write about his philosophy of art.

Here are a few quotes from The Picture of Dorian Gray.

  • "But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "Some day you will look at your friend, and he will seem to you to be a little out of drawing, or you won't like his tone of colour, or something."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 1
     
  • "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 2
     
  • "You are a wonderful creation. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 2
     
  • "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!"
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 2
     
  • "Yes; he would try to be to Dorian Gray what, without knowing it, the lad was to the painter who had fashioned the wonderful portrait. He would seek to dominate him-had already, indeed, half done so. He would make that wonderful spirit his own. There was something fascinating in this son of Love and Death."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 3
     
  • "Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 3
     
  • "My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mid, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 4
     
  • "You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 4
     
  • "You, who know all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl Vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous, I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!"
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 4
     
  • "His sudden mad love for Sibyl Vane was a psychological phenomenon of no small interest. There was no doubt that curiosity had much to do with it, curiosity and the desire for new experiences; yet it was not a simple but rather a very complex passion."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 4
     
  • "Thin-lipped Wisdom spoke at her from the worn chair, hinted at prudence, quoted from that book of cowardice whose author apes the name of common sense. She did not listen. She was free in her prison of passion. Her prince, Prince Charming, was with her. She had called on Memory to remake him. She had sent her soul to search for him, and it had brought him back. His kiss burned again upon her mouth. Her eyelids were warm with his breath."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 5
     
  • "Oh! How I shall play it! Fancy, Jim, to be in love and play Juliet! To have him sitting there! To play for his delight I am afraid I may frighten the company, frighten or enthrall them. To be in love is to surpass oneself."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 5
     
  • "I wish I had, for as sure as there is a God in heaven, if he ever does you any wrong, I shall kill him."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 5
     
  • "I hope that Dorian Gray will make this woman his wife, passionately adore her for six months, and then suddenly become fascinated by someone else. He would be a wonderful study."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 6
     
  • "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."
    - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray Ch. 6
     
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