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Dorian then understands that, where his life is headed, lust and good looks shall suffice.

Conscience-stricken and lonely, Dorian decides to reconcile with Sibyl, but he is too late, as Lord Henry informs him that Sibyl has committed suicide by swallowing prussic acid.The wish is granted, and Dorian pursues a libertine life of varied and amoral experiences, while staying young and beautiful; all the while his portrait ages and records every sin.The plot of the novel varies between each of the published versions.The summary below deals with the longest version, the 1891 novel.However, certain episodes described—in particular Dorian's encounter with, and murder of, James Vane—do not appear in the version originally submitted by Wilde to Lippincott's.Sibyl, too enamoured with Dorian to act, performs poorly, which makes both Basil and Lord Henry think Dorian has fallen in love with Sibyl because of her beauty instead of her acting talent.

Embarrassed, Dorian rejects Sibyl, telling her that acting was her beauty; without that, she no longer interests him.

[The narrative does not reveal the title of the French novel, but, at trial, Wilde said that the novel Dorian Gray read was À rebours (Against Nature, 1884), by Joris-Karl Huysmans.] One night, before leaving for Paris, Basil goes to Dorian's house to ask him about rumours of his self-indulgent sensualism.

Dorian does not deny his debauchery, and takes Basil to see the portrait.

This prompts Dorian to wish that the painted image of himself would age instead of himself.

Under the hedonist influence of Lord Henry, Dorian fully explores his sensuality.

The Picture of Dorian Gray begins on a beautiful summer day in Victorian era England, where Lord Henry Wotton, an opinionated man, is observing the sensitive artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of Dorian Gray, a handsome young man who is Basil's ultimate muse.