The Picture of Dorian Gray | Study Guide

Oscar Wilde

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The Picture of Dorian Gray | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late 19th century

    Lord Henry Wotton examines Dorian Gray's portrait and discusses him with Basil Hallward.

    Chapter 1
  • A few minutes later

    Henry makes Dorian realize his beauty, and Dorian wishes the painting would age instead of him.

    Chapter 2
  • A month later

    Dorian falls in love with Sibyl Vane.

    Chapter 4
  • A few days later

    Dorian breaks up with Sibyl because her acting, once extraordinary, is now terrible.

    Chapter 7
  • Later that night

    Sibyl kills herself and a line of cruelty magically appears on the picture of Dorian.

    Chapter 7
  • Two days later

    Dorian hides the painting and reads a novel that influences him for years.

    Chapter 10
  • Years pass

    Dorian indulges himself in sensual and immoral activities.

    Chapter 11
  • Years later

    Dorian lets Basil see his transformed portrait, and then kills him for his horrified response.

    Chapter 13
  • The next day

    Dorian blackmails Alan Campbell into disposing of Basil's body.

    Chapter 14
  • That night

    Dorian visits an opium den, where James Vane recognizes and threatens him.

    Chapter 16
  • A week later

    Dorian faints when he sees James Vane through a window.

    Chapter 17
  • Three days later

    James Vane is accidentally killed while he is stalking Dorian.

    Chapter 18
  • A day later

    Dorian stabs the painting to destroy any evidence of his link to Basil and dies as a result.

    Chapter 20

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Preface In the preface Wilde provides readers with key points of the 19th-century aesthetic movement and his views on beauty, th... Read More
Chapter 1 When visiting his friend Basil Hallward, Lord Henry Wotton praises the portrait Basil is working on and suggests that he... Read More
Chapter 2 Once Henry and Basil enter the studio, Henry and Dorian briefly talk about Aunt Agatha—their shared connection. Henry fi... Read More
Chapter 3 The next day Lord Henry visits Lord George Fermor—his uncle—to learn more about Dorian Gray's background. Lord George ex... Read More
Chapter 4 A month later Dorian is sitting in Henry's library, waiting for Henry. Lady Victoria Wotton, Henry's wife, enters. Doria... Read More
Chapter 5 Chapter 5 opens with Sibyl Vane telling Mrs. Vane, her mother, how happy Dorian makes her, although she calls her suitor... Read More
Chapter 6 Henry and Basil meet for dinner. Henry shares the news that Dorian is engaged. The friends talk about how foolish a choi... Read More
Chapter 7 When the three men get to the theater, it is more crowded than usual. Henry is appalled by the crowd and surroundings, b... Read More
Chapter 8 Dorian sleeps in the next day and, as he has a late breakfast, studies the portrait again—trying to decide if he had ima... Read More
Chapter 9 The next morning Basil visits while Dorian is having breakfast. He's full of sympathy over Sibyl's death and doesn't bel... Read More
Chapter 10 Basil leaves. Dorian tells his servant Victor to send in Mrs. Leaf, the housekeeper, and then to go fetch the frame make... Read More
Chapter 11 This strange book influences Dorian for years. He buys multiple copies and binds them in different colors to match his m... Read More
Chapter 12 On the foggy evening before Dorian's 38th birthday, he passes Basil on the street. Dorian hopes Basil hasn't seen him, b... Read More
Chapter 13 Basil follows Dorian upstairs to the room where he has stored Basil's painting of him. He tears back the curtain to reve... Read More
Chapter 14 Dorian sleeps so peacefully his servant has trouble waking him the next morning. The events of the previous night slowly... Read More
Chapter 15 The evening following the body's disposal, Dorian attends a party hosted by Lady Narborough. He's nervous but appears ca... Read More
Chapter 16 As Dorian rides to the opium den, he thinks back on what Henry told him the first day they met, about curing the soul by... Read More
Chapter 17 A week later Dorian is sitting in the conservatory (greenhouse) of his country estate and chatting with the Duchess of M... Read More
Chapter 18 The next day, despite his guests, Dorian stays in the house all day, terrified. He keeps thinking about seeing James Van... Read More
Chapter 19 Not long after, Henry and Dorian are talking. Dorian tells Henry he's changing his life: he's going to be good. In fact ... Read More
Chapter 20 As Dorian walks home, enjoying the pleasant evening, he hears people talking about him. This leads him to think about ho... Read More
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