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.