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Free Study Guide-The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-Free BookNotes
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CHAPTER 14

Summary

Dorian Gray wakes with a smile the next morning at nine oíclock, feeling well rested. He gradually recalls the events of the night before. He feels sorry for himself and loathing for Basil. Then he realizes that Basilís body remains upstairs in he room. He fears that if he thinks too much on what happened he will go crazy. He gets up and spends a long time choosing his outfit and his rings. He has a leisurely breakfast and reads his mail, throwing away a letter from a lover, remembering one of Lord Henryís misogynist sayings about women, that they have a awful memory. He writes two letters and sends one to Mr. Alan Campbell by his manservant.

He smokes a cigarette and sketches for a while, but every face he sketches looks like Basilís. He lies down on the sofa and tries to read Gautierís Emaux et Camees. He enjoys the images in the book of the beauties of Venice. It reminds him of his visit there. He was with Basil and he remembers Basilís joy over the work of Tintoret. He tries to read again and then begins to worry that Alan Campbell might be out of town.

Five years ago, he and Alan had been great friends. Now they never speak. Alan always leaves the room when Dorian comes in at any party they both attend. Alan is a scientist, but when he and Dorian were together, he was also in love with music. They were inseparable for a year and a half. Then they quarreled and have not spoken since. Alan has given up music in favor of science. Dorian becomes hysterical with anxiety as he waits. Finally, the servant announces that Mr. Campbell has arrived.

Dorian loses all anxiety and plays the part of the gracious host. Alan Campbell is stiff with disapproval and hatred. He wants to know why Dorian has called him. Dorian tells him there is a dead body in a room at the top of the stairs and he needs Campbell to dispose of it. Alan tells him to stop talking. He says he will not turn him in, but that he will not have anything to do with it. Dorian tells him he wants him to do it because of Alanís knowledge of chemistry. He wants him to change the body into a handful of ashes. He at first says it was a suicide, but then admits that he murdered the man upstairs. Dorian begs him to help and Alan refuses to listen. Finally, when he is sure he canít convince him, Dorian writes something down and tells Alan to read it. Alan is shocked at what he reads. Dorian says if Alan wonít help him, he will send a letter to someone and ruin Alanís reputation. He tells Alan he is terribly sorry for him for what he will have to do, but tries to console him by saying he does this sort of thing all the time for the pursuit of science so it shouldnít be too horrible for him.


Finally, Alan says he needs to get things from home. Dorian wonít let him leave. He makes him write down what he needs and sends his servant to get the equipment. Then when it arrives, he sends his servant away for the day to get some orchids in another city. He and Alan carry the equipment upstairs. At the door, Dorian realizes he has left the portrait uncovered for the first time in years. He rushes over to it to cover it. He sees that on the hands, there is a red stain. He covers it and then leaves the room to Alan without looking at the body.

Long after seven oíclock that evening, Alan comes downstairs and says it is finished. He says he never wants to see Dorian again. Dorian thanks him sincerely, saying he saved him from ruin. When Campbell leaves, Dorian rushes upstairs and sees there is no trace of the body.

Notes

The psychology of Dorian Gray is perhaps best revealed in this chapter. He wakes up the morning after murdering one of his best friends feeling calm and pleasant. When he remembers what he did, he dreads seeing the body again. He doesnít feel remorse. He sends for what was probably an ex-lover and forces him on the threat of revealing their past relationship, to dispose of the body so that no trace shows. He has no fear of telling Campbell of what he did because he knows he has power over the man. When he returns to the upstairs room to find no trace of Basil Hallwardís body remaining, he is relieved. It seems that the portrait takes on not only the look of a sinful man, but also the guilt of one. Dorian is perfectly ruthless.

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