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Free Study Guide-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Free BookNotes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

The novel is set in London at the end of the nineteenth century; one chapter is set at Dorian Gray’s country estate, Selby Royal.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Basil Hallward

The artist who paints the portrait of Dorian Gray. He is so enamored of Dorian Gray that he feels himself dominated by Dorian. His art changes when he paints Dorian Gray. He is eventually murdered by Dorian Gray when he tries to urge Dorian to reform himself.

Lord Henry Wotton

The aristocrat who corrupts Dorian Gray with his ideas that morality is hypocrisy used to cover people’s inadequacies. He decides early on that he wants to dominate Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray

The object of fascination for everyone. He is the most beautiful man anyone has ever seen. He prays that he should change places with a portrait painted of him when he is quite young. He prays that he will stay young forever and the portrait will show signs of age and decadence. His prayer comes true and he remains beautiful even while being corrupt.

Minor Characters

Lady Brandon

A society lady who has a "crush" at which Basil Hallward meets Dorian Gray.

Lady Agatha

A philanthropist who tells Lord Henry of Dorian Gray.

Lord Fermor

Lord Henry’s uncle, who makes his money on coal mines and lives the life of luxury.

Lord Kelso

Grandfather to Dorian Gray. He arranged for his daughter’s husband, Dorian’s father, to be killed in a duel.

Margaret Devereaux

Dorian Gray’s mother, a great beauty who married a penniless soldier. She dies giving birth to Dorian.

Duchess of Harley

A guest at Aunt Agatha’s luncheon. She is well liked by everyone.

Sir Thomas Burdon

A guest at Aunt Agatha’s luncheon. He is a Radical member of Parliament who likes to eat with Tories since they serve better food.

Mr. Erskine of Treadley

A guest who attends Aunt Agatha’s luncheon. He is "an old gentlemen of considerable charm and culture."

Mrs. Vandeleur

One of Aunt Agatha’s friends. She is "a perfect saint amongst women, but so dreadfully dowdy that she reminded one of a badly bound hymnbook."


Lord Faudel

A guest at Aunt Agatha’s luncheon. He is a "most intelligent middle-aged mediocrity."

Dartmoor Wotton

Lord Henry’s elder brother, who is contemplating marrying an American woman.

Victoria, Lady Henry

Lord Henry’s wife, who eventually leaves him for another man and sues him for divorce.

Sibyl Vane

An actress with whom Dorian falls in love. She loses her acting ability when she falls in love and Dorian rejects her because of it. Then she commits suicide.

Mrs. Vane

Sibyl Vane’s mother, also an actress, who has difficulty expressing a non-dramatic emotion.

James Vane

Sibyl Vane’s brother, who goes off to become a sailor, but not before he vows to kill his sister’s lover if he ever finds out that the man hurts her. He stalks Dorian Gray years later and is shot by accident during a hunting party.

Victor

Dorian Gray’s manservant. Dorian begins to suspect Victor of recognizing the idea of the portrait and eventually fires him.

Leaf

Dorian Gray’s housekeeper.

Mr. Hubbard

Proprietor of a frame shop. He helps Dorian move the portrait to the upstairs room.

Mr. Alan Campell

An ex-lover of Dorian Gray. He is a scientist. When Dorian kills Basil Hallward, he calls Alan Campbell to come and destroy the body so no evidence will remain.

Lady Gwendolyn

Lord Henry’s sister, who is ruined by her association with Dorian Gray.

Lady Narborough

An older woman who entertains Dorian at her dinner party the night after he disposes of Basil Hallward’s body.

Adrian Singleton

A young man who is ruined by his association with Dorian Gray. He is an opium addict.

Duchess of Monmouth

A woman with whom Dorian Gray conducts a flirtation. She attends his country house party.

Duke of Monmouth

Husband to the Duchess and collector of insects. Sees Geoffrey Clouston, the Duchess’s brother, who accidentally kills James Vane.

Hetty Merton

A country girl whom Dorian Gray woos and then leaves before ruining her innocence.

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