Best quotes from The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde

740 Quotes    4.1 


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Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.

I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.

All art is quite useless.

It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible....

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.

Oh, brothers! I don't care for brothers. My elder brother won't die, and my younger brothers seem never to do anything else.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.

The basis of optimism is sheer terror.

An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.

The bright dawn flooded the room, and swept the fantastic shadows into dusky corners, where they lay shuddering.

The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.

Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.

I love acting. It is so much more real than life.

To define is to limit.

There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make one almost enamoured of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself, and instinct with that vivid life that lurks in all grotesques, and that lends to Gothic art its enduring vitality, this art being, one might fancy, especially the art of those whose minds have been troubled with the malady of reverie.

You seem to forget that I am married, and the one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.

I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who would call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one.

I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about it's use. It is hitting below the intellect.

I like Wagner's music better than anybody's. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

She is a peacock in everything but beauty!

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.

As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her daughter, she is perfectly satisfied

Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man's face. It cannot be concealed.

His sudden mad love for Sibyl Vane was a psychological phenomenon of no small interest. There was no doubt that curiosity had much to do with it, curiosity and the desire for new experiences; yet it was not a simple but rather a very complex passion.

Out of the unreal shadows of night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off... p 207

When he takes the knife to the canvass the servants find him lying dead with a knife through is heart and "withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage." and the portrait "in all the wonders of his exquisite youth and beauty." p 349

It is the stupid and the ugly who have the best of it in this world

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.

It is perfectly monstrous,' he said, at last, 'the way people go about nowadays saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.

Genie währt länger als Schönheit.

Jemanden zu beeinflussen bedeutet, ihm eine fremde Seele zu geben.

Jene Entsagungen, die die Menschen alberner Weise Tugenden nennen

Was verabscheuenswerter sei, die Zeichen der Sünde oder die des Alter.

Age   Sin

das man die wahre Natur der Sinne nie verstanden hatte und dass sie wild und tierisch geblieben waren, nur weil die Welt versucht hatte, sie durch Aushungern zu bändigen und durch schmerzhaften Verzicht abzutöten, statt danach zu trachten, sie zu Elementen einer neuen Geistigkeit zu verwandeln, deren bezeichnendes Merkmal ein empfindsamer Sinn für die Schönheit sein sollte.

Der Mensch hat eine instinktive Angst vor Trieben, die stärker als er selbst erscheinen.

Natürlich ist die Ehe nur Gewohnheit. Eine schlechte sogar. Aber man bedauert sogar den Verlust der schlechten Gewohnheit. Kann sein, dass man sie sogar am meisten bedauert.

Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions."
"I hate them for it," cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.

But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face.

We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.

A beautiful woman risking everything for a mad passion. A few wild weeks of happiness cut short by a hideous, treacherous crime. Months of voiceless agony, and then a child born in pain. The mother snatched away by death, the boy left to solitude and the tyranny of an old and loveless man. Yes, it was an interesting background. It posed the lad, made him more perfect as it were. Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.

It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears
is said to be seen in San Francisco.
It must be a delightful city and possess
all the attractions of the next world.

When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself.


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