The Picture of Dorian Gray, Chapter 10

Doran Gray vs Christian Gray

Some shared themes…

  • Male attractiveness.
  • Female submission.
  • Evilness.
  • Selfishness.
  • Self-satisfaction.
  • Hedonism.

Any others?

Now, let’s read Chapter X


Create 1 multiple choice question based on Chapter 5 (read last class)

Create 1 reading comprehension question based on Chapter 10 (read today)

Post your questions here: QUESTIONS

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Chapter 5)

Previous chapters’ reviews

Chapter 2

Harry about influence on others…

‘There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral,—immoral from the scientific point of view.’
‘Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly,—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion,—these are the two things that govern us. (pp. 23-24).

Chapter 3

Harry’s opinion about women…

‘My dear boy, no woman is a genius: women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. They represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as we men represent the triumph of mind over morals. There are only two kinds of women, the plain and the colored. The plain women are very useful. If you want to gain a reputation for respectability, you have merely to take them down to supper. The other women are very charming. They commit one mistake, however. They paint in order to try to look young. Our grandmothers painted in order to try to talk brilliantly. Rouge and esprit used to go together. That has all gone out now. As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied. . (p. 45)

Harry, on making mistakes…

He began to wonder whether we should ever make psychology so absolute a science that each little spring of life would be revealed to us. As it was, we always misunderstood ourselves, and rarely understood others. Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name we gave to our mistakes. Men had, as a rule, regarded it as a mode of warning, had claimed for it a certain moral efficacy in the formation of character, had praised it as something that taught us what to follow and showed us what to avoid. But there was no motive power in experience. It was as little of an active cause as conscience itself. All that it really demonstrated was that our future would be the same as our past, and that the sin we had done once, and with loathing, we would do many times, and with joy. (pp. 58-59)

Chapter 4

Harry and Basil about Dorian’s engagement…

‘Dorian Gray is engaged to be married,’ said Lord Henry, watching him as he spoke.
Hallward turned perfectly pale, and a curious look flashed for a moment into his eyes, and then passed away, leaving them dull.’ Dorian engaged to be married!’ he cried. ‘Impossible!’
‘It is perfectly true.’
‘To whom?’
‘To some little actress or other.’
‘I can’t believe it. Dorian is far too sensible.’
‘Dorian is far too wise not to do foolish things now and then, my dear Basil.’ […]

Dorian… Harry’s experiment…

‘If you want him to marry this girl, tell him that, Basil. He is sure to do it then. Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.’
‘I hope the girl is good, Harry. I don’t want to see Dorian tied to some vile creature, who might degrade his nature and ruin his intellect.’
‘Oh, she is more than good—she is beautiful,’ murmured Lord Henry, sipping a glass of vermouth and orange-bitters. ‘Dorian says she is beautiful; and he is not often wrong about things of that kind. Your portrait of him has quickened his appreciation of the personal appearance of other people. It has had that excellent effect, among others. We are to see her to-night, if that boy doesn’t forget his appointment.’
‘But do you approve of it, Harry?’ asked Hallward, walking up and down the room, and biting his lip. ‘You can’t approve of it, really. It is some silly infatuation.’
‘I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do. If a personality fascinates me, whatever the personality chooses to do is absolutely delightful to me. Dorian Gray falls in love with a beautiful girl who acts Shakespeare, and proposes to marry her. Why not? If he wedded Messalina he would be none the less interesting. You know I am not a champion of marriage. The real drawback to marriage is that it makes one unselfish. And unselfish people are colorless. They lack individuality. Still, there are certain temperaments that marriage makes more complex. They retain their egotism, and add to it many other egos. They are forced to have more than one life. They become more highly organized. Besides, every experience is of value, and, whatever one may say against marriage, it is certainly an experience. I hope that Dorian Gray will make this girl his wife, passionately adore her for six months, and then suddenly become fascinated by some one else. He would be a wonderful study.’ (pp. 61-63)

  • What importance does Harry give to “making mistakes”?
  • Is Harry Epicurean?

Let’s watch a video to analyze the philosophical theory of Epicureanism.

Chapter 5 (audiobook)

La canción de Sybil Vane (Fito Páez)


Today, we will watch the documentary about Oscar Wilde from minute 26:00 to 35:00. As you watch, find the answer to the questions below:

1.- Who was Lord Alfred Douglas?
2.- Who will betray Oscar Wilde?
3.- How is the Picture of Dorian Gray defined?
4.- What is something that both Wilde and Alfred had in common?

Oscar Wilde & “The Picture of Dorian Gray”: Aestheticism & Hedonism

Oscar Wilde belonged to the literary movement “Aestheticism”. How is it defined?

Aestheticism can be defined broadly as the elevation of taste and the pursuit of beauty as chief principles in art and in life. In the context of British literature there is considerable controversy about when and where aestheticism occurs; but a line can be traced from the art criticism of John Ruskin in the 1850s, through the artists and writers of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and the writings of Walter Pater, to the works of Oscar Wilde and the flowering of decadent poetry of the 1890s. The movement drew upon the formula of “l’art pour l’art”—art for art’s sake—articulated most memorably by the French novelist Théophile Gautier in his 1836 preface to Mademoiselle de Maupin. Gautier was one of a number of French writers and artists of the period who argued that art should be evaluated with reference to its own criteria. In aestheticism the subjective view of beauty becomes the primary means of judging value: when considering whether a poem or a painting is good, aestheticism merely asks if it is beautiful or meaningful as a work of art in itself. This forms a stark contrast to the long-standing custom of judging art and literature either on the basis of the moral lessons it might teach to readers or viewers (its social usefulness) or in terms of its correspondence to real life (its realism). It is this refusal to acknowledge the primacy of morality within art that made aestheticism such a controversial movement from the mid 19th century onward: its proponents were the subjects of vituperative attacks from mainstream writers and critics and were consistently satirized throughout this period. The category of aestheticism is a notoriously slippery one and can overlap with and encompass the categories of Pre-Raphaelitism, decadence, symbolism, and early modernism.

Extracted from:



Reputations: Oscar Wilde’s biography


“The Picture of Dorian Gray” (Chapter 1)


  • Mockery of Victorian Times
  • Hedonism
  • Beauty
  • Aestheticism
  • Love and jealousy
  • Friendship
  • Autobiography

Main characters:

  • Lord Henry Wotton / Harry
  • Basil Hallward
  • Dorian Gray

Movie 1973


Unit III: The rise of the novel in the Eighteenth Century & Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

The Novel as a Literary Genre

While historians argue about the “first” novel, the definition of the novel could be a separate argument itself. With the different perspectives associated with the novel, the definition as it emerged in the 18th century included many facets. Different definitions of the novel include: an imaginative re-creation of reality, a history, a scary conveyor of truth that demanded scrutiny, a biography, a harmless amusement, a travel narrative, a romance, a tale of spiritual journey. Despite the contradictions that exist within these varying perspectives on the 18th century novel, several key features among them can be picked out as components of the novel as a new textual medium.

Contemporaneity became a common theme within the novels, writers were more inclined to show the life of the present day versus life as it was in the past. Characters and events were made to be believable, as if to mirror the people and events in the every day world of the time, lending the novels credibility. Characters within the stories were presented in a manner similar in social rank to the people reading the novels, not as kings or queens; this afforded a level of familiarity with the readers. With familiarity, readers were able to identify and empathize with characters in the novel. Writers also began to reject traditional plot types; stereotypical plots such as those found in earlier aristocratic stories were avoided. Instead, writers paid greater attention to self-consciousness and the process of thought. As a result, stories reflected more of their individualism and subjectivity. They were engaging ideologies and composed with a guiding design that created presiding themes. On occasion novels would digress, but in a way that operated under the pattern and design guiding the plot. Despite these improvements, some people were afraid of the novel’s rise into literature. Why was the novel scary? First, it demanded scrutiny; it appeared to look into the very reality of the reader himself. Secondly, it conveyed a scale of truth. Author Joel Weinsheimer claims that “the legitimate end of fiction is the conveyance of truth”. Whose truth was conveyed? Everyone’s. The novel created “a true world, familiar and recognizable to shoemakers and philosophers alike”. Ultimately, with its variety of definitions and various features, the novel emerged as a literary form about people and experiences familiar and to its readers.

 Evolution of the Novel Form

In the 21st century, where the novel is quite possible the most popular form of literature, it is hard for one to believe that its form is relatively novel for the world. Prior to the 18th century, there were no known literary pieces in existence that fit the definition of a “novel” (refer to above section for definition). Before discussing the novel itself, it is important to examine its evolution. Traditionalism in literature was a key to success prior to the latter half of the eighteenth century. Authors such as Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost, were responsible for telling stories in which the people were familiar with. The fiction that was produced before the introduction and development of the novel were never based on actual people but on characters whom everyone was familiar with, Hercules, Adam and Eve, etc. Thus, the success of an author was mainly based on whether or not he could re-invent an already popular story and model the traditional classics from the days of yore. According to Ian Watt, author of The Rise of the Novel: Studies of Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding, Daniel Defoe was the first author to truly break the “protocol” of story telling. Usually, writers were rated on how well they represented historical events and/or their ability to re-tell stories that everyone had already heard. Defoe, in the eighteenth century, pulled away from this tendency of re-telling stories and began to develop protagonist characters that were new to the literary world. Defoe began writing novel-like works about a character and their life, often using autobiographical information to fuel his writing.

Author Ian Watt, and many others for that matter, usually credit Daniel Defoe as being the author of the first English novel. The first novel is usually credited to be Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe which was first published in 1719 (Lee). The novel is about a man, Crusoe, who spent 28 years on a deserted island and the adventures in which he encountered while on the island. However, this is debatable and a “true” first novel has not really been absolutely unanimously determined. Some critics claim that other stories such as Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels are actually just a series of stories about one character and his experiences. There is not a truly lengthy series of events that take place with one protagonist over a prolonged period of time; rather, the character simply re-enacts bits and pieces of his life that the author feels is interesting enough to reiterate. Therefore, stories like Robinson Crusoe stand up as much more likely candidates as true “novels” because Defoe explains the entire life of the protagonist, even the seemingly mundane details. Thus, other novels began to be written in succession after Defoe’s first. Next, there was the publication in 1740 of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela(Lee). Followed by a multitude of other books that would be termed “novels” such as Henry Fielding‘s Joseph Andrews. After these first novelists became successful, a menagerie of other authors would quickly evolve in the years to come. Authors like Charles Dickens and Jane Austen‘s to name a few, would soon become some of the world’s most famous novelists having perfected the art of the novel.

Rise of realism–the novel as an effect of the Enlightenment

After the start of the Scientific Revolution, people began applying the newfangled deductive method to all sorts of social concerns. Specifically, Enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke and Rene Descartes proposed that individuals could discern important truths about life through careful observation of details, and no longer had to rely upon the establishment for their intellectual enrichment. Writers picked up on this trend and penned a new genre that focused on realism–books that had believable plots and believable characterizations–and a public already primed on realistic fare such as biographies, memoirs and personal journals eagerly embraced the English novel. (Brooklyn College’s Guide to the Study of Literature.) (Sutherland,Classics of British Literature.)

Rise of the middle class–the novel as an offshoot of capitalism

While the populace was busy looking for new ways to educate itself about the world, Britain was busy becoming the world’s first capitalist economy. As a result, the country’s middle classes expanded, and they became obsessed with ways of increasing their income and social standing. And for the first time in British history, a subject’s social standing did not depend upon inheritance, but upon ambition. Authors catered to this potential reading public by writing works about love and marriage—works in which the main characters married up the social ladder. (Previously, novelists had been patronized by rich benefactors and confined their serious pieces to classical concerns.) Still, one vestige of Britain’s fading feudal system was its paternalistic tradition that the ruling classes should provide for society’s poorer members. This tradition translated into an early English novel convention of producing stories with happy endings; stories in which virtuous working women were absorbed into their libidinous masters’ aristocratic homes. (Samuel Richardson’s Pamela is a good example of this convention, in which a servant girl marries a master who had pressured her to become his mistress.

Rise of commercial fiction–the novel as an affordable and available literary form

Besides giving members of the lower classes new riches and reasons to drop their old friends, another benefit of the Industrial Revolution was bringing affordable books to the masses through the creation of commercial printing houses. As it went, after the book industry noticed the public demand for the novel, it upgraded its infrastructure and increased its output in London, Edinburgh and Dublin, on account of 18th-century technological advances in printing. Once the new presses were in place, publishers kept them profitable by persuading novelists to put out salable works. Thus, the novel changed form from rare manuscripts circulated in rarefied circles, to the popular published form sold today. (Sutherland, Classics of British Literature.) (Weiner, The Long 19th Century.)

Rise of literacy and lending libraries–the novel as a product of Puritan values

Not all Britain’s people prospered from industrialization–many members of the working classes still couldn’t read or afford to buy novels at retail. To bridge this gap and build public education, concerned philanthropic groups established literacy programs and lending libraries. These lending libraries preferred novels that were published in three volumes, so they could spread out their titles between borrowers. As a consequence, the early English novelists wrote their works following a formula that put a cliffhanger in each volume. One downside to the novel’s Puritan sponsorship was the accompanying Puritan censorship. In time, writers grew weary of watching their words, and of breaking their works into multiple editions after their fellow countrymen could well afford to buy their own copies. By the close of the Victorian age, then, a more prosperous and less pious reading public no longer patronized lending libraries, and the era of the serial novel came to an end. (Bucholz,Foundations of Western Civilization II.) (Sutherland, Classics of British Literature.)

Adapted from:


Punch Magazine 18th century illustrations:

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)



Great expectations (1861)


Pip –  The protagonist and narrator of Great Expectations, Pip begins the story as a young orphan boy being raised by his sister and brother-in-law in the marsh country of Kent, in the southeast of England. Pip is passionate, romantic, and somewhat unrealistic at heart, and he tends to expect more for himself than is reasonable. Pip also has a powerful conscience, and he deeply wants to improve himself, both morally and socially.

Joe Gargery –  Pip’s brother-in-law, the village blacksmith, Joe stays with his overbearing, abusive wife—known as Mrs. Joe—solely out of love for Pip. Joe’s quiet goodness makes him one of the few completely sympathetic characters in Great Expectations. Although he is uneducated and unrefined, he consistently acts for the benefit of those he loves and suffers in silence when Pip treats him coldly.

Mrs. Joe –  Pip’s sister and Joe’s wife, known only as “Mrs. Joe” throughout the novel. Mrs. Joe is a stern and overbearing figure to both Pip and Joe. She keeps a spotless household and frequently menaces her husband and her brother with her cane, which she calls “Tickler.” She also forces them to drink a foul-tasting concoction called tar-water. Mrs. Joe is petty and ambitious; her fondest wish is to be something more than what she is, the wife of the village blacksmith.

Uncle Pumblechook –  Pip’s pompous, arrogant uncle. (He is actually Joe’s uncle and, therefore, Pip’s “uncle-in-law,” but Pip and his sister both call him “Uncle Pumblechook.”) A merchant obsessed with money, Pumblechook is responsible for arranging Pip’s first meeting with Miss Havisham. Throughout the rest of the novel, he will shamelessly take credit for Pip’s rise in social status, even though he has nothing to do with it, since Magwitch, not Miss Havisham, is Pip’s secret benefactor.

Miss Havisham –  Miss Havisham is the wealthy, eccentric old woman who lives in a manor called Satis House near Pip’s village. She is manic and often seems insane, flitting around her house in a faded wedding dress, keeping a decaying feast on her table, and surrounding herself with clocks stopped at twenty minutes to nine. As a young woman, Miss Havisham was jilted by her fiancé minutes before her wedding, and now she has a vendetta against all men. She deliberately raises Estella to be the tool of her revenge, training her beautiful ward to break men’s hearts.

Estella –  Miss Havisham’s beautiful young ward, Estella is Pip’s unattainable dream throughout the novel. He loves her passionately, but, though she sometimes seems to consider him a friend, she is usually cold, cruel, and uninterested in him. As they grow up together, she repeatedly warns him that she has no heart.

Abel Magwitch (“The Convict”) –  A fearsome criminal, Magwitch escapes from prison at the beginning of Great Expectations and terrorizes Pip in the cemetery. Pip’s kindness, however, makes a deep impression on him, and he subsequently devotes himself to making a fortune and using it to elevate Pip into a higher social class. Behind the scenes, he becomes Pip’s secret benefactor, funding Pip’s education and opulent lifestyle in London through the lawyer Jaggers.


Themes of the book:

  • Upper class vs lower class
  • Delinquency
  • Education
  • Love and revenge
  • A child’s vision of life
  • London life

Chapter 7

Percy Bysshe Shelley and “The Necessity of Atheism” (1811)

The Necessity of Atheism

In the fall of 1810, Shelley entered University College, Oxford. It seemed a better academic environment for him than Eton, but after a few months, a dean demanded that Shelley visit his office. Shelley and his friend Thomas Jefferson Hogg had co-authored a pamphlet titled The Necessity of Atheism. Its premise shocked and appalled the faculty (“…The mind cannot believe in the existence of a God.”), and the university demanded that both boys either acknowledge or deny authorship. Shelley did neither and was expelled.

Harriet and Mary

Although Shelley’s relationship with Harriet remained troubled, the young couple had two children together. Their daughter, Elizabeth Ianthe, was born in June of 1813, when Shelley was 21. Before their second child was born, Shelley abandoned his wife and immediately took up with another young woman. Well-educated and precocious, his new love interest was named Mary, the daughter of Shelley’s beloved mentor, William Godwin, and Mary Wollstonecraft, the famous feminist author of A Vindication of the Rights of Women. To Shelley’s surprise, Godwin was not in favor of Shelley dating his daughter. In fact, Godwin so disapproved that he would not speak with Mary for the next three years. Shelley and Mary fled to Paris, taking Mary’s sister, Jane, with them. They departed London by ship and, mostly traveling by foot, toured France, Switzerland, Germany and Holland, often reading aloud to each other from the works of Shakespeare and Rousseau.When the three finally returned home, Mary was pregnant. So was Shelley’s wife, Harriet. The news of Mary’s pregnancy brought Harriet to her wit’s end. She requested a divorce and sued Shelley for alimony and full custody of their children. Harriet’s second child with Shelley, Charles, was born in November of 1814. Three months later, Mary gave birth to a girl. The infant died just a few weeks later. In 1816, Mary gave birth to their son, William.
Death and Significance
On July 8, 1822, just shy of turning 30, Shelley drowned while sailing his schooner back from Livorno to Lerici, after having met with Leigh Hunt to discuss their newly printed journal, The Liberal. Despite conflicting evidence, most papers reported Shelley’s death as an accident. However, based on the scene that was discovered on the boat’s deck, others speculated that he might have been murdered by an enemy who detested his political beliefs. Shelley’s bodied was cremated on the beach in Viareggio, where his bodied had washed ashore. Mary Shelley, as was the custom for women during the time, did not attend her husband’s funeral. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ashes were interred in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. More than a century later, he was memorialized in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey.(Adapted from:

The necessity of atheism

The necessity of atheism (1811)