Chapter 4 Notes from The Picture of Dorian Gray

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The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapter 4

It is one month later. Dorian waits for Lord Henry, who is late; his wife, Victoria, comes in before Lord Henry and introduces herself to Dorian. They talk about music; she likes loud music, so she can talk without anyone hearing her, and he only talks when the music is bad. Lord Henry enters, and Victoria excuses herself. He tells Dorian never to marry a woman with straw-colored hair, because they are too romantic. Dorian tells him his news: he is in love with an actress named Sibyl Vane, and calls her a genius. Lord Henry says, "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." Chapter 4, pg. 53 Lord Henry says that he has a right to say this because he has been studying women. Dorian regrets telling him about Sibyl, but says that he felt compelled to tell him, since it was due to him that he met her.

Topic Tracking: Influence 5

He explains what happened; he was walking in London one evening and found a dirty little theatre which he decided to enter. Lord Henry laughs at Dorian's calling Sibyl the greatest romance of his life, insisting that there will be more to come. Dorian goes on with the story; he was in a box in a horrible theatre, and found out that they were performing Romeo and Juliet. When Juliet came on stage, he fell in love with her; she is an exquisite and captivating beauty, with a voice that is as mesmerizing as Lord Henry's but in a different way: "You know how a voice can stir one. Your voice and the voice of Sibyl Vane are two things that I shall never forget." Chapter 4, pg. 57

Lord Henry asks about Dorian's relations with Sibyl, and at Dorian's horror (Sibyl is sacred), asks if he even has met her. Dorian tells him that after attending many performances, he went backstage and lavished compliments on her, and she called him her Prince Charming. She comes from a tragic family--her mother is also an actress, playing Lady Capulet, and she lives in a dream world--but Dorian does not want to know her story; he only needs to know her. He pleads Lord Henry: "You, who know all the secrets of life, tell me how to charm Sibyl Vane to love me! I want to make Romeo jealous, I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir their dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. My God, Harry, how I worship her!" Chapter 4, pg. 61

Dorian proposes that he go to the theatre with Basil and Lord Henry and that they help him to get her away from this theatre and bring her to a proper West End theatre, where she can become successful. Dorian has not seen Basil in a week, because he sometimes says things that are annoying, but Lord Henry says this is Basil's nature; he is an artist who puts everything into his work, so he cannot be very interesting to be around in real life.

Dorian leaves, and Lord Henry thinks to himself what an interesting study Dorian is. Even more so, now that he is in love with Sibyl: "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." Chapter 4, pg. 66 Lord Henry realizes he has been daydreaming when his valet wakes him up for dinner; he goes to dinner, and when he comes back, he finds a telegram from Dorian saying that he is engaged to Sibyl.

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