The Picture of Dorian Gray Characters List – Dorian Gray Character Analysis

The Picture of Dorian Gray Main Characters – Introduction

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel full of psychological manipulation. Part philosophical musing about beauty, youth, and pleasure and part gothic fiction, this book analyzes what a life of beauty is by presenting the audience with characters that vary from melodrama to a cool absence of emotion.

The protagonist is Dorian Gray, but he is ultimately not a very likeable character. He is also the antagonist as his actions destroy any chances he could have had at a happy life. Another antagonist is James Vane, the brother of Sibyl Vane whose suicide was caused by Dorian.

Dorian’s two closest friends present an angel and devil dichotomy in his life with Lord Henry, finding it fun to try and psychologically manipulate Dorian and then observe the effects, playing the devil. On the other side, Basil Hallward is Dorian’s kind artist friend who wishes that Dorian would repent and steer clear of bad influences. He represents the more angelic ideal in friendship despite his tendency to obsess over aesthetic beauty.

Dorian Gray Character List

who is the character dorian grayWho is the Main Character in Dorian Gray?

  • Protagonist – Dorian Gray
  • Antagonist – Dorian Gray; James Vane
  • Narrator – Anonymous third person omniscient

Dorian Gray Description

Who is Dorian Gray? – In the beginning of the novel, Dorian is a bright and beautiful young man who is admired by many. He is wealthy and impressionable and quickly falls under the influence of the older Lord Henry.

At this point, Dorian becomes obsessed with his youth and his beauty and begins to put this above anything else. He trades his soul so that he can live a life of pleasure and reckless abandon without the consequences affecting his beautiful complexion.

Lord Henry Wotton Description

lord henry wotton character analysisLord Henry Wotton – Perhaps one of the most morally abhorrent characters of the novel, his brand of evil is far more subtle and easy to miss than Dorian’s. Lord Henry is charismatic and pleasant-mannered around others. However, from the start he identifies young Dorian as someone who would be easy to manipulate.

Throughout the years, he gets his entertainment from influencing and manipulating Dorian. His personal philosophy plays on the idea that one must find ways to stimulate the senses, never minding conventional morality.

Basil Hallward Description

dorian gray character analysisBasil Hallward – A mild-mannered and passionate artist who, in the beginning of the novel, is obsessed with Dorian’s beauty. He believes that Dorian’s rare and exquisite beauty helped him to find a refreshed artistic vision.

The portrait of Dorian that is completed at the start of the novel is Basil’s masterpiece. Basil attempts to serve as a sort of moral compass at times for Dorian, but he is never able to get through to Dorian and winds up murdered at Dorian’s hands.

Sibyl Vane Description

Sibyl Vane – The beautiful and talented actress who Dorian falls in love with. Once Sibyl falls in love with Dorian, she is no longer able to act and she loses interest in acting as a career because once she experienced love, the pretend emotions of acting felt false and uncomfortable.

James Vane Description

James Vane – Sibyl’s brother. He is concerned for his sister’s honor and cancels an excursion abroad in order to look after her. When she commits suicide as a result of Dorian’s cruel treatment, James vows to avenge her death and tracks Dorian.

Mrs. Vane Description

Mrs. Vane – Sibyl’s mother. She is concerned for Sibyl but is won over by Dorian’s wealth.

Lady Agatha Description

Lady Agatha – Lord Henry’s aunt.

Lord Fermor Description

Lord Fermor – Lord Henry’s uncle.

Victoria Wotton Description

Victoria Wotton – Lord Henry’s wife.

Alan Campbell Description

Alan Campbell – A former friend of Dorian’s who winds up blackmailed into disposing of Basil’s body for Dorian. Towards the end of the novel, it is revealed that he has committed suicide. Campbell is a representation of how Dorian’s selfish and cruel actions frequently destroy the lives of others.

Duchess of Monmouth Description

Duchess of Monmouth – A bored noblewoman who enjoys flirting with Dorian.

Victor Description

Victor – Dorian’s servant who is forced to go on endless pointless errands due to Dorian’s paranoia that Victor will find his portrait.

Mrs. Leaf Description

Mrs. Leaf – Dorian’s housekeeper.