Chapters 4-6 by Karolina
Lord Henry Wotton
It is one month later. Dorian waits for Lord Henry, who is late; his wife, Victoria, comes in before Lord Henry and introduces herself to Dorian. They talk about music. Lord Henry enters, and Victoria excuses herself. He tells Dorian never to marry a woman with straw-colored hair, because they are too romantic. Dorian tells him that he is too in love to marry, and delivers his news: he is in love with an actress named Sibyl Vane, and calls her a genius. Dorian regrets telling Henry about Sibyl (as he is quite derogatory) , but says that he felt compelled to tell him, since it was due to him that he met her.
He explains how they met : he was walking in London one evening and found a dirty little theatre which he decided to enter. Lord Henry laughs at Dorian’s calling Sibyl the greatest romance of his life, insisting that there will be more to come. Dorian goes on with the story; he was in a box in a theatre, and found out that they were performing Romeo and Juliet. When Juliet came on stage, he fell in love with her; she is an exquisite and captivating beauty, with a voice that is as mesmerizing as Lord Henry’s but in a different way.
Lord Henry asks about Dorian’s relations with Sibyl, and at Dorian’s horror, asks if he even has met her. Dorian tells him that after attending many performances, he went backstage and lavished compliments on her, and she called him her Prince Charming. She, as does Dorian, comes from a tragic family–her mother is also an actress, playing Lady Capulet, and she lives in a dream world–but Dorian does not want to know her story; he only needs to know her. He pleads Lord Henry for assistance to woo his love.
Dorian proposes that he go to the theatre with Basil and Lord Henry and that they help him to get her away from this theatre and bring her to a proper West End theatre, where she can find her success. Dorian reveals that he has not seen Basil in a week, because he sometimes annoys Dorian. Henry explains this is Basil’s nature; he is an artist who puts everything into his work, so he cannot be very interesting to be around in real life.
Dorian leaves, and Lord Henry thinks to himself what an interesting study Dorian is. Even more so, now that he is in love with Sibyl. Lord Henry realizes he has been daydreaming when his valet wakes him up for dinner. After dinner, he finds a telegram from Dorian saying that he is engaged to Sibyl.
Dorian to Henry “You, who know all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl Vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous, I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!” pg 61
Lord Henry [about Sibyl] “My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.”
Sibyl Vane tells her mother, Mrs. Vane, how happy she is now that she has found her Prince Charming. Mrs. Vane says that Sibyl must only think of her acting, since they are still so in debt to Mr. Isaacs, who owns the theatre. Sibyl, carried away with the idea of love, thinks of Dorian. She surmises that surely Mrs. Vane must have loved Sibyl’s father like this; Mrs. Vane thinks that if this young man is rich, then things might work out, and hugs her. Sibyl’s younger brother, James, who is about to leave for Australia, enters. He asks Sibyl to go on a walk with him, since he will not see her for a long time. His mother tells him that he is to make a fortune and then come back to London, but he does not want to see London ever again. Sibyl goes to get ready for the walk.
While she is gone, James asks his mother to take care of Sibyl; he has heard that a young man has been visiting her. Mrs. Vane assures him that the man might be rich, but she will watch over Sibyl anyway.
Outside, the passersby stare at James and Sibyl because they are so different; he is clumsy and heavy, and she so refined and beautiful. She talks through her fantasies of what James will find in Australia: love, adventure, treasure. He does not listen to her; instead he thinks about the rumors he has heard about this new man. He tells her this, and she goes on about how wonderful he is, and that he is coming to the theatre tonight.
He tells her that the man’s intentions must be bad, and she tells him that he needs to fall in love so he can understand. While they are sitting down, Dorian Gray passes in a carriage, but she points him out too late for James to see him. He tells her that if he had actually seen Dorian, he would kill him. Sibyl gets mad at him for saying this, and assures him that her Prince Charming will love her forever. James, still filled with jealousy and rage, walks her home, and they say a tearful goodbye. He has dinner with Mrs. Vane, and asks her about his father; she tells him they were not married, and that he was a gentleman who was not free. He tells her he worries about Sibyl’s gentleman too. He repeats his vow to kill him if he does her any wrong, which Mrs. Vane understands because of the melodrama of the statement, and he drives away.
Sir Henry Wotton
Basil and Henry meet, and Henry tells his friend about Dorian’s engagement. Basil thinks it is awful that Dorian would marrying someone beneath him, but Lord Henry says that it will make Dorian a more interesting study. Basil doesn’t believe that Lord Henry means this, but Lord Henry insists that he does.
Dorian enters, they sit down for dinner, and he tells them how the engagement came about. He saw Sibyl play Rosalind one night, and afterward he saw her and they suddenly kissed; he told her he loved her, and she said she was unworthy to be his wife. Lord Henry says that the women are usually the ones to bring up marriage.
Dorian tells his friends that being in love with Sibyl makes him forget all of Lord Henry’s musings. Lord Henry tries to convince Dorian a bit more: he tells his companions that good is following one’s own nature, rather than the nature of other people. Being moral has nothing to do with it; pleasure is the highest aim, not morality. Basil says that if one is immoral, one will suffer and be unhappy, but Lord Henry once again mocks his friend and says he thinks that this is out of date. Dorian says that the greatest pleasure is to love someone. Even though Lord Henry is cynical in his views about women, Dorian likes him a lot, and Lord Henry says that Dorian will always like him. The three of them leave for the theatre, and Basil thinks on the way that things have changed forever, that Dorian will never be what he once was to him. He feels much older as he gets to the theatre.
Henry [to Basil about Dorian] “I hope that Dorian Gray will make this girl his wife, passionately adore her for six months, and then suddenly become fascinated by someone else. He would be a wonderful study.”
1. What do you think of Sibyl Vane? Is she a good match for Dorian, or do you think this could be a recipe for disaster?
2. How do you feel about Basil’s reactions to the recent goings on? Do you think he’s right, that Dorian’s changed?
3. How has Dorian changed? What do you think this means for the other characters?