How sad it is!
I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful.
But this picture will remain always young.
– Oscar Wilde, from 「The Picture of Dorian Gray」
‘Basil’, a promising painter, wants to paint a portrait of ‘Dorian Gray’, a newly-aristocrat young man in London high society.
‘Basil’ paints the portrait and gives birth to a masterpiece that he pours his passion and artistic soul into.
‘Henry’ –who possesses exceptional eloquence and intellect as a key member of London high society– starts a new anthropological study, through ‘Dorian’, about mankind with all of its perfect looks and good-hearted nature; and
‘Dorian’ –who has a yearning that grows greater for immortal beauty under the influence of ‘Henry’– rejects his own future with the unsightly quality of getting old someday, eventually exchanges his own soul with his portrait, and is given eternal beauty.
However he falls to the path of depravity more and more after a short romance with ‘Sibyl’, a theater company’s actress, ends; and will find his portrait having hideously morphed, unlike its first time, at some point.
Although ‘Basil’ wishes to see again the portrait of his, ‘Dorian’ rejects this.
He himself thinks he may be the perfect man with all his perfect looks and good-hearted nature, and never stops his depravity.
‘Henry’ continues doing his study but becomes perplexed at ‘Dorian’’s behavior that has been seen over different times with the direction [of things] he expected…
As he remains unchanged as the years have passed, the ‘Dorian’ who is still left with the beautiful features of a young man in his youth that was drawn first in the portrait.
Does he really possess true beauty?