What would you do if you could keep your beauty and youth forever, while a portrait of you grows old and corrupted by your sins? That is the temptation facing Dorian Gray, the protagonist of Oscar Wilde's only novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."
First published in 1890, this work is a fascinating exploration of aestheticism, hedonism, and morality. Dorian Gray is a cultured, wealthy and impossibly beautiful young man who captivates the artistic imagination of Basil Hallward, a painter who paints a portrait of him so perfect that Dorian wishes the painting would age instead. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's who celebrates beauty, youth and selfish pleasure, Dorian becomes a disciple of the "new hedonism" and sets out to live a life dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. He falls in love with Sibyl Vane, a young actress performing in a London underworld theater, but cruelly abandons her when she loses her talent upon meeting her true love. Returning home, Dorian notices that the face of him in Basil's portrait has changed: he now shows a cruel expression.
From that moment on, Dorian lives a double life: on the outside, he remains the same innocent and charming young man that everyone admires; Inside, he indulges in the most capricious and perverse excesses, influenced by a poisonous and fascinating book that Lord Henry gives him. The portrait, hidden in Dorian's attic, is increasingly transformed into a hideous monster that reflects the traces of his crimes and his moral corruption. Dorian tries to escape his fate, but his actions will have unexpected and tragic consequences.
"The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a novel that combines gothic horror with social satire and philosophical reflection. Wilde creates an unforgettable character who embodies the contradiction between appearance and reality, between art and life. With elegant and brilliant prose, Wilde invites us to question the values of Victorian society and to reflect on the meaning of beauty, art and morality.
If you want to read a masterpiece of English literature, full of intrigue, romance and mystery, don't miss Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. It will surprise you!