Dorian Gray returned once more to the theater, this time with Lord Henry and Basil Hallward, eager to show them Sibyl’s performance. This particular night the theater was filled with so many people. Dorian had told his friends about Sibyl’s acting and he couldn’t wait for them to see her, so when Sibyl appeared on stage she was the most charming thing Lord Henry and Basil had ever seen, but once she started her act everything changed. She didn’t seem happy and her performance lacked of energy and feeling. Something definitely must have been wrong that made Dorian get paler by the minute of embarrassment in front of his friends. Her verses were lifeless even though she looked beautiful. The audience started to get impatient; whistled and talked to one another and after a while they started to leave followed by Lord Henry and Basil. Dorian decided to stay until the end, letting his friends go without him somewhere more entertaining. At that moment his beloved Sibyl had changed and was breaking his heart.
Once the play was over, Dorian went to find Sibyl. She looked radiant as always and confessed to him how bad her acting had been. Dorian asked if she was sick and for her not to act under this condition because it had been terrible. Sibyl explained him, with a smile, that before meeting him the theater was everything to her, the happiness of the women she portrayed was hers too, but he had taught her real love and her soul had been freed. Everything now seemed ugly and only he was her Prince Charming, she couldn’t act like before anymore. But to Dorian, she had killed his love for her; she was no longer the charming girl he had once admired. How crazy was he to love someone so simple? Dorian told her that he would never see, speak or think about her again, that he wished that he had never met her. Now, Sibyl was the pale one and it was her heart the one being broken. She begged for his forgiveness, cried and fell to his feet, but all Dorian did was look at her one more time and leave.
Once at home, he noticed something different in his picture, the one Basil had done, and examined it well. There was a line that wrapped his red lips, a touch of cruelty. He remembered the wish he had done back at Basil’s studio; for him to remain young while the picture aged. This could surely not be happening, things like that were impossible. He had not been cruel, it had been Sybil, and it had been all her fault. At that point noticing what he could become he decided to change, from now on he would not listen to Lord Henry and his theories, he would go back to Sibyl. Make amends and marry her. He would love her again and live a beautiful life.
The next day when Dorian Gray woke up it was past noon and Victor, his valet, had come to check on him several times. Dorian finally got up; he had breakfast, read the mail which was filled with invitations to dinners, charity events, private views and more. There was also a letter from Lord Henry, which he put aside.
It was a wonderful day and the events of last night felt like a far away dream that felt like an odd feeling. He suddenly noticed the place where his portrait rested and a sudden cold ran all over his body. Had all that he remembered been true? Had the picture really changed? Dorian locked himself in his room and then examined the picture. The expression had truly changed. After a while Lord Henry arrived, he hesitated on receiving him but then Dorian let him in, just to tell him about his new life. When Lord Henry entered he immediately told him how sorry he was about what had happened but Dorian was only happy to tell him that he had decided to marry Sibyl after all. When Lord Henry heard this he asked Dorian if he had heard the news, if he had read his letter. When Dorian said no, he had no choice but to tell him about Sibyl’s death. At that moment he realized that his picture had predicted Sibyl’s death, that’s why it had that expression, the one Dorian couldn’t show. Lord Henry told him not to feel sad, that it had been beautiful for Sibyl to die that way for Dorian, but the past was in the past and he had to move on. Women were like that. Lord Henry invited him to dinner and then to the Opera, and after a while left Dorian alone. Dorian spent a while in thought and came to the conclusion that his life would change from this moment on. He had discovered the power he had upon the picture and he would use it as a mirror to his soul. The picture would age while he remained beautiful and young.
First thing in the morning, the next day after Sibyl’s death, Basil Hallward went to visit his good friend Dorian Gray to help in whatever he could with his grief. But what he found was something totally more different to what he had expected. Basil asked Dorian if he had talked to Sibyl’s mother, to see how she was, but all Dorian did was act indifferent to all that had happened. It seemed as if he had never loved the girl. He told Basil about last night and the fun he had had meeting Lady Gwendolen, Harry’s sister, and the Patti’s wonderful voice. He had no desire to hear or talk about horrible things that were already in the past, besides he had heard of Sibyl having a brother, a sailor, which meant that she wasn’t an only child. Basil noticed how different Dorian acted; he was the same boy he had once painted, but now it felt as if he were heartless. He was sure it all had to be Harry’s influence, yet they agreed to never talk about the terrible incident. They talked more and after a while Basil told him about his plan to show Dorian’s painting in an autumn exhibition in Paris, which shocked Dorian who refused to show him the portrait or take it anywhere away from his house without permission. Dorian remembered well that Basil did not want to show the painting to the public, so he felt curious to know why the sudden change of mind from his friend. After insisting for a while Basil told him his secret; he had put so much of him and his passion in the painting that it was a window to his soul too. He often believed that art hid more to the artist than what it revealed. Dorian, too, confessed that he had seen something in the painting, but did not admit that his dear friend was far from discovering the truth about the painting. Dorian had to move it before any of his friends could see it.
Victor (Dorian’s valet)
1. Why do you think Dorian couldn’t love Sibyl anymore after seeing her act? Why couldn’t he understand her reason for her performance that night?
2. They say love is blind, but in this case love let Sibyl see better what surrounded her, why do you think Oscar Wilde used it opposite?
3. Was Sibyl Vane really the salvation for Dorian’s soul?
4. Why do you think that in a story were tragic is a clear subject elements of beauty are use so much?
5. Do you think it is true the way Lord Henry describes women?
6. What do you think of the will of a wish that Oscar Wilde gave Dorian for his eternal youth and beauty?
“So I have murdered Sibyl Vane, murdered her as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife. Yet the roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden. And to-night I am to dine with you, and then go on to the opera, and sup somewhere, I suppose, afterwards. How extraordinarily dramatic life is! If I had read all this in a book, Harry, I think I would have wept over it. Somehow, now that it has happened actually, and to me, it seems far too wonderful for tears. Here is the first passionate love-letter I have ever written in my life. Strange, that my first passionate love-letter should have been addressed to a dead girl. Can they feel, I wonder, those white silent people we call the dead?” –Dorian Gray
“But women never know when the curtain has fallen. They always want a sixth act, and as soon as the interest of the play is entirely over, they propose to continue it. If they were allowed their own way, every comedy would have a tragic ending, and every tragedy would culminate in a farce. They are charmingly artificial, but they have no sense of art.” –Lord Henry
“This portrait would be to him the most magical of mirrors. As it had revealed to him his own body, so it would reveal to him his own soul. And when winter came upon it, he would still be standing where spring trembles on the verge of summer. When the blood crept from its face, and left behind a pallid mask of chalk with leaden eyes, he would keep the glamour of boyhood.” –Narrator
“Art is always more abstract than we fancy. Form and color tell us of form and color–that is all. It often seems to me that art conceals the artist far more completely than it ever reveals him.” –Basil Hallward