By Nina TorskaWed. 17 Apr. 20243min Read

10 Best The Picture of Dorian Gray Quotes

In this article, we explore some of the most memorable quotes from Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray," offering homage to its rich narrative and the sharp societal insights that echo through its dialogue.
10 Best The Picture of Dorian Gray Quotes

In Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray," I find myself consistently mesmerized by the depth of its philosophy and the sparkling wit of its dialogue.

This novel, Wilde's only published novel, offers a scathing critique of Victorian society, wrapped in a tale of gothic horror and aesthetic decadence.

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it."  – Lord Henry

This line, spoken by the ever provocative Lord Henry, perfectly encapsulates the seductive allure of temptation that is central to the novel's plot.

As someone who revels in the complexity of human desires, I find this quote a liberating, albeit dangerous, invitation to explore our darker impulses without restraint.

"To define is to limit." – Lord Henry


Here, Lord Henry argues against the constraints of conventional definitions, championing a life of limitless possibilities. This philosophy not only challenges societal norms but also resonates with me as a call to embrace the complexities of identity and experience without confinement.

"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about." – Lord Henry

This quote reflects the societal obsession with reputation and the fear of obscurity that Wilde saw as prevalent in his society. It's a reminder of the paradoxical nature of fame: the desire to be noticed and the fear of the same.

"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter." – Basil Hallward

Basil’s insight into the nature of art and creation speaks to the intimate connection between an artist and their work. As a writer and a lover of art, I am drawn to this reflection on how personal creation is inherently a reflection of oneself.

"The only things one never regrets are one's mistakes." – Lord Henry

This provocative observation champions the educational value of errors over successes. It's a celebration of the human capacity to grow from failure, a view that encourages embracing life's trials as essential to personal development.

"I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them." – Dorian Gray

Dorian’s quest for emotional mastery echoes the novel's exploration of control versus abandon. It resonates with anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by their feelings, highlighting a desire for control that can lead to both personal power and destruction.

"Beauty is a form of Genius—is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation." – Lord Henry

Lord Henry’s deification of beauty as a supreme form of intelligence that transcends conventional wisdom is a reflection of the aestheticism that Wilde advocated. This idea fascinates me as it elevates the visual and sensual above the intellectual, challenging traditional hierarchies of value.

"I can sympathize with everything, except suffering. I cannot sympathize with that." – Lord Henry

This stark admission from Lord Henry reveals a chilling disregard for pain, showcasing the emotional detachment that characterizes Wilde's critique of a superficial society. It’s a cold perspective that always prompts me to reflect on the importance of empathy in our lives.

"The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer." – Lord Henry

With his characteristic wit, Lord Henry trivializes the notion of enduring passion, reducing it to mere whim. This cynicism towards lasting emotional attachments is both humorous and sad, reflecting Wilde's own complex views on love and relationships.

"I am too fond of reading books to care to write them, Mr. Erskine."  –  Dorian Gray

Dorian's light-hearted comment on his preference for reading over writing is particularly relatable to me as someone who finds joy in the consumption of stories. It underscores the pleasure of literary escapism, a sentiment I share deeply.

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