Feb 06, 2021

88 Quotes from The Picure of Dorian Gray book by Oscar Wilde

The Picure of Dorian Gray book by Oscar Wilde.jpg

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray is a mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense that has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde's most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.

Quotes

I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.

Conscience and cowardice are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all.

Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.

I make a great difference between people. I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. I have not got one who is a fool.

I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.

I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.

The harmony of soul and body - how much that is! We in our madness have separated the two, and have invented a realism that is vulgar, an ideality that is void.

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.

I think you are wrong, but I won't argue with you. It is only the intellectually lost who ever argue.

The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.

The worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic.

Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.

To influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him.

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked.

The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion - these are the two things that govern us.

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful.

It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.

Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?

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

Beauty is a form of genius - is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.

Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals, of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you.

We never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!

Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.

I wonder who it was defined man as a rational animal. It was the most premature definition ever given. Man is many things, but he is not rational.

Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot: that is all one can say.

Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.

American girls are as clever at concealing their parents, as English women are at concealing their past.

The Americans are an extremely interesting people. They are absolutely reasonable. I think that is their distinguishing characteristic. Yes, an absolutely reasonable people. I assure you there is no nonsense about the Americans.

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

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of science is that it is not emotional.

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.

Of all people in the world the English have the least sense of the beauty of literature.

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

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.

My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect - simply a confession of failure.

When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.

Women defend themselves by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and strange surrenders.

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

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

The reason we all like to think so well of others is that we are all afraid for ourselves. The basis of optimism is sheer terror. We think that we are generous because we credit our neighbour with the possession of those virtues that are likely to be a benefit to us. We praise the banker that we may overdraw our account, and find good qualities in the highwayman in the hope that he may spare our pockets.

As for a spoiled life, no life is spoiled but one whose growth is arrested.

To be good is to be in harmony with one's self. Discord is to be forced to be in harmony with others.

Modern morality consists in accepting the standard of one's age. I consider that for any man of culture to accept the standard of his age is a form of the grossest immorality.

The real tragedy of the poor is that they can afford nothing but self-denial. Beautiful sins, like beautiful things, are the privilege of the rich. - Chapter 6

Women treat us just as humanity treats its gods. They worship us, and are always bothering us to do something for them.

A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?

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

There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating - people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.

The secret of remaining young is never to have an emotion that is unbecoming.

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.

The only way a woman can ever reform a man is by boring him so completely that he loses all possible interest in life.

Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws. Their origin is pure vanity. Their result is absolutely nil. They give us, now and then, some of those luxurious sterile emotions that have a certain charm for the weak. That is all that can be said for them. They are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.

That awful memory of woman! What a fearful thing it is! And what an utter intellectual stagnation it reveals!

One should absorb the colour of life, but one should never remember its details. Details are always vulgar.

The one charm of the past is that it is the past. 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.

I am afraid that women appreciate cruelty, downright cruelty, more than anything else. They have wonderfully primitive instincts. We have emancipated them, but they remain slaves looking for their masters, all the same. They love being dominated.

We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful.

Who, that knew anything about life, would surrender the chance of remaining always young, however fantastic that chance might be, or with what fateful consequences it might be fraught?

If one doesn't talk about a thing, it has never happened. It is simply expression, that gives reality to things.

It is only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.

To become the spectator of one's own life, is to escape the suffering of life.

There is something fatal about a portrait. It has a life of its own.

The past could always be annihilated. Regret, denial, or forgetfulness could do that. But the future was inevitable.

I love scandals about other people, but scandals about myself don't interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty.

Sin is a thing that writes itself across a man's face. It cannot be concealed. People talk sometimes of secret vices. There are no such things. If a wretched man has a vice, it shows itself in the lines of his mouth, the droop of his eyelids, the moulding of his hands even.

Youth smiles without any reason. It is one of its chiefest charms.

Perhaps one never seems so much at one's ease as when one has to play a part.

When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.

Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our intellects.

I am sick of women who love one. Women who hate one are much more interesting.

Each man lived his own life and paid his own price for living it. The only pity was one had to pay so often for a single fault. One had to pay over and over again, indeed. In her dealings with man, destiny never closed her accounts.

It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. Names are everything. I never quarrel with actions. My one quarrel is with words. That is the reason I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.

Every effect that one produces gives one an enemy. To be popular one must be a mediocrity.

We women, as some one says, love with our ears, just as you men love with your eyes, if you ever love at all.

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.

Shallow sorrows and shallow loves live on. The loves and sorrows that are great are destroyed by their own plenitude.

The only horrible thing in the world is ennui. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness.

As for omens, there is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.

Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.

My dear boy, anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate.

Death is the only thing that ever terrifies me. I hate it. [...] Because, one can survive everything nowadays except that. Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.

One regrets the loss even of one's worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one's personality.

All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. [...] Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them in the smallest degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations.

Oh! anything becomes a pleasure if one does it too often. That is one of the most important secrets of life.

Life is not governed by will or intention. Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play - I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.

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

What was youth at best? A green, an unripe time, a time of shallow moods, and sickly thoughts.