A Taste of Hedonism from Dorian Gray

It all started on a rainy evening in the apartment. My buddy and I had been drinking, and the topic of hedonism was brought up. We immediately referred to The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. This was also my first read by Oscar Wilde, and my favorite. It’s a quick read that exemplifies the school of thought known as hedonism; the pursuit of pleasure, or self-indulgence. Most college students are living this lifestyle through debauchery. Dorian Gray is the main character; a beautiful young man who participates in a lot of questionable affairs that are not befitting his innocence. The Picture of Dorian Gray is my favorite novel because I discovered I have been living a hedonistic lifestyle, unfortunately not as intense as Dorian. Please refer to the link, hedonism, for more information.

I have always been a sucker for characters who descend into madness, or ruin, such as Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert in The Beautiful and Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Dorian is portrayed as picture perfect beauty and immune to the disease of age. He is free to consume as much alcohol and do whatever he pleases with no repercussions. The man is similar to a college superstar. There is a movie, Dorian Gray (2009), but it is not nearly as captivating as the book, and the movie’s portrayal of Dorian is not even beautiful. In the novel, Dorian is portrayed as a blonde haired young man, while the movie has him as a handsome version of Oscar Wilde. There’s a Dorian Gray inside everyone, brooding, and waiting to release the filth that beauty hides.

I recommend the book to everyone interested in learning about hedonism. It’s also a great turn of events from innocence to wretched. The Picture of Dorian Gray shows the dangers of the pursuit of pleasure through a timid young man who realizes the extent of his hedonistic powers.


WC: 317



  1. krystalroa · January 22, 2016

    Great opening to your book review, it really sets up the content. I’m a huge fan of Oscar Wilde! Your description of the book is great. For some reason, certain parts of your summary actually reminded me of Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I think it’s the idea of over self-indulgence that is a theme in many works by authors of this genre. I also appreciate that you pointed out the differences in the portrayal of Oscar in the movie vs. the book.


    • spacekipz · January 22, 2016

      Chuck Palahniuk is a great contemporary author. Fight Club really got me into his books and I have read Choke! I was so looking forward to that movie and it was a real let down when I saw the actor…


  2. mkaobrien · February 12, 2016

    I have never read The Picture of Dorian Gray, but after reading your post I’m really interested. I like the language that you used “beautfiul filth” the polarity of things– how there can be both positive and negative aspects of people simultaneously is fascinating to me and speaks to true human nature. Thanks for your post!


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