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Dorian Gray's only novel captivated me with his excellent command of the English language, and the depth of discussions which abound between the two main characters, Dorian and Lord Henry. Discussing this novel would be fruitless if I don't take into account the richness of the character development of Dorian. The novel begins with Basil, a well-regarded painter who is painting Dorian, talking to his friend, Lord Henry, about his infatuation with painting Dorian. Basil is quite reluctant at first to tell Henry Dorian's name as he is afraid that Henry will tarnish the purity of Dorian. I think that Basil's main reason for not wanting Henry to know Dorian is a selfish one, as he is, with good cause, afraid that Dorian will become enamoured of Henry, who has a very powerful, controlling influence over people. Perhaps one of the most important points to note in this novel is quite near to the beginning (the first chapter, maybe?) when Dorian is introduced to Henry, and is immediately taken by his knowledge; Dorian is also quite pleased by the attention and praise of his beauty. While Basil finishes the painting of Dorian, Dorian begins to think more deeply of everything that Henry has been telling him, but especially of his flattering comments regarding his good looks. Telling Dorian that he must make the most of his looks while he can, as he will surely wither with age as every other human does, Dorian's true exterior beauty is revealed to him through Basil's portrait of him, and for the first time in his life he realises how handsome he really is. At the same moment though, as Henry lauds Basil for his incredibly life-like work, Dorian despairs that he will soon lose his most important asset, and become as mundane as everyone else. Dorian's change of perception can be traced directly to Henry, who plants within him a great pride of his beauty, and a willingness to use it to gain anything he desires. Henry's advice that beauty is the most wonderful gift to have (higher than intelligence, though it is better to have intelligence than neither of these two, according to Henry) instills within him a desire to remain as he is forever, and Dorian makes the ill-fated wish, which makes his portrait portray Dorian's true exterior features as he progresses with age, while his own exterior doesn't age. After this, Dorian fills his life with pleasures of all descriptions, but also develops his intellect through his great collection of books and his travels throughout Europe. I wont discuss this book any further, as I might ruin it for you, but I just must say this about Oscar Wilde: If indeed, as he has been quoted as saying, he said that he was like the character Basil, I believe he was lying. He surely was more like Henry, who expounded upon numerous philosophies, and countless ideologies, and was by far the more intelligent of the two characters. I also believe he was more like Henry because of their similar marriages. As I noted at the beginning of this little exposition of the Picture of Dorian Gray, the English language is used with such excellence, and respect, while instilling each description with great vividness and vibrancy. It is certainly an important novel to read, especially if you are familiar with Wilde's other great works, such as the Importance of Being Ernest. I'd like to hear what other people thought about the novel and whether you think some of my thoughts on the novel have any substance. Happy typing, Toothbrush