As Oscar Wilde's first and only novel, the importance of The Picture of Dorian Gray is undoubted. Most of his "wrong, fascinating, poisonous, delightful theories" are put forward in this novel, especially in the preface of it. As we all know, Wilde was famous for his philosophy of art saying that art should not serve other purpose except to describe beauty. In this novel, he not only exclaimed that art was not a function of morality but also disclosed the decay of the Victoria society. .
To support this idea, first of all, I will make an overview of the story. At the beginning, Basil painted a portrait of Dorian Gray and sent it to him as a gift. The picture showed the youth and purity of the young man. However, Dorian began to follow a life of new hedonism mentioned by Lord Henry. His life betrayed and the change of his soul reflected on the portrait. Dorian was able to maintain his youth even at the age of 38, while the picture recorded all his sins. The story went to the climax when Dorian killed the painter of the portrait, Basil. Then he blackmailed another young man once corrupted by him to destroy the body of Basil. Dorian's ever-young appearance aroused many rumors, but there was no proof, except the changing picture. At last, he himself couldn't bear all the things. He tried to destroy the picture with the knife, which he used to kill Basil. However, the picture returned to its origin it showed the young beautiful Dorian while the ugly figure was killed lying on the floor.
The story was considered as a gothic one, as the plot was very absurd and was impossible to happen in the real world. But Wilde, like many other great writers, is quite sensitive. To choose to write in such an extreme style is to make the phenomenon in his time (Victoria Era) clearer. For that reason, the book was criticized as immoral and later became the proof of his "crime". .
Now let's go back to the topic I mentioned in the first paragraph.