The Picture of Dorian Gray Characters
by Oscar Wilde
Basil HallwardA reclusive painter much respected by the London aristocracy. He admires Dorian to the point of adulation and paints many portraits of him, finally creating his masterpiece, the titular picture. Basil introduces Dorian to Lord Henry Wotton.
Lord Henry WottonA champion of sensual pleasure, notorious among London's high society for his dazzling conversation and brazenly immoral views. He values beauty above all else, and is chiefly responsible for Dorian's corruption.
Dorian GrayA physically beautiful young man, naive and good-hearted until corrupted by vanity. Dorian makes a faustian bargain: his body remains young and beautiful, while his portrait alters to reflect his age and increasingly guilty conscience. He eventually seems to bring corruption, pain, and death to all inhabitants of the social circles in which he moves.
Lord George FermorHenry Wotton's uncle, an idle, impatient aristocrat. Henry calls on him to elicit information about Dorian's background. He is a portrait of a typical self-centered, elderly aristocrat whose money allows him to devote his life to purely fanciful and superficial endeavors.
Sibyl VaneA beautiful, 17-year-old Shakespearean actress, and Dorian's first love. The pair are smitten with each other and are engaged to be married until Dorian sees her perform badly, and, disillusioned, treats her with extreme cruelty. Broken-hearted, she commits suicide.
Mrs VaneSybil's aging, single mother. Mrs Vane is also an actress, and both she and her daughter struggle to support their small family through their craft. She is most comfortable when her real life is as melodramatic as it is on the stage.
James VaneSibyl's younger, fiercely protective brother, who leaves England to become a sailor. He is suspicious of his sister's lover from the start, and swears to hunt the man down if he causes her any harm. After Sibyl's death, he dedicates himself to finding his sister's "Prince Charming", and is eventually killed by a wayward hunting bullet while trying to take his revenge on Dorian.
Mr IsaacsThe man who runs the decrepit theater where Sybil performs. The Vanes are deeply in debt to him. He is a sterotypical portrait of an old Jewish man, whom Dorian and Basil find contemptible, and whom Lord Henry finds amusing.
VictorDorian's faithful first servant, of whom he is unnecessarily suspicious. Victor has been replaced by another servant by the second half of the novel, although the details of his dismissal are never disclosed. We are left to surmise that either Dorian's paranoia became too great, or that Victor eventually grew unable to bear his master's increasingly corrupt nature.
Mr HubbardA celebrated London frame-maker whom Dorian calls upon to help him hide the portrait in the attic. He appears only once in the novel, but stokes Dorian's growing paranoia by being puzzled when the protagonist adamantly refuses to uncover the painting for him to see it.
Adrian SingletonA promising young member of society whose life takes a turn for the worse when he befriends Dorian. Adrian ends up addicted to opium, spending all of his time and money in filthy, dilapidated drug dens.
Alan CampbellA talented chemist and musician who is close to Dorian until their friendship comes to a bitter end as a consequence of Dorian's increasingly bad reputation. Dorian forces him to assist in the disposal of Basil's body using blackmail, and Alan later commits suicide.
Lady NarboroughThe widow of a wealthy man, and the mother of richly married daughters. She hosts a great many parties, and is very fond of Dorian and Lord Henry.
Sir Geoffrey CloustonA London socialite and guest of Lady Narborough who shoots James Vane in a hunting accident. Unlike most of the aristocrats present at the incident, he appears to be quite disturbed by the idea of having taken a human life.
Lady Alice ChapmanLady Narborough's decidedly unremarkable daughter, a minor character whom Wilde uses to display Lord Henry's superficiality.
Duchess of MonmouthGladys, a clever and pretty young aristocrat who nearly matches Lord Henry in conversational wit. She freely and lightly admits to numerous adulterous affairs, and flirts with Dorian at one of his parties.
Hetty MertonA beautiful young village girl who falls in love with Dorian and reminds him of Sybil Vane. Dorian consciously - and hypocritically - refrains from corrupting her in an attempt to begin living a good life, and to purify his soul. She does not believe Dorian when he tells her that he is wicked, because he looks so young and innocent. She is the last young woman with whom Dorian is romantically linked.
The Picture of Dorian Gray Essays and Related Content
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- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 3
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- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 5
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- Summary and Analysis of Chapter 19
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