Questions and Answers for Dorian Gray Book Club

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Q1: Discuss the character of Lord Henry and his impact on Dorian. A1:
Lord Henry is an extremely immoral person. He finds no values in sticking to virtues and instead values living for the flesh. When he meets Dorian, he is immediately struck by his beauty. He stays and talks to Dorian while he sits for Basil. He tells Dorian that beauty is all that matters, and how it's a shame that it only lasts for so long. He urges him to spend his time always "searching for new sensations" and not wasting the time that his beauty is still alive. This scared Dorian and caused him to make the wish that his portrait would grow old instead of himself. He never wanted to lose his beauty. Lord Henry continues to be one of Dorian's closest advisors. When Sibyl kills herself, he does not focus on the horror of it like Dorian does, he focuses on the fact that no one will associate Dorian with it. He is not very sympathetic or caring, but matter-of-fact. He gives Dorian a book that ruins him. It consists of the story of a young Parisian who devotes his life to “all the passions and modes of thought that belonged to every century except his own.” Dorian himself causes it a "poisonous book," but he allows himself to be changed by it. He commits all sorts of sins and his portait keeps getting uglier, but the more he sins, the more Lord Henry seems to love him. Lord Henry is a vile man that somehow still has the capacity to love something, albeit another evil person. Near the end when Dorian decides to be good all of a sudden, Lord Henry mocks his morality and commends Dorian for living his life the way he has so far.

When Dorian tells him not to give the book about the Parisian to anyone else, Lord Henry mocks him yet again and tells him that “[a]rt has no influence upon action," which flies right in the face that Dorian's portrait has been influencing his actions for a very long time. Lord Henry's words make him realize that something must be done...
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