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Discussion Questions for Chapters 1-7 of Dorian Gray Chapters 1-2

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Discussion Questions for Chapters 1-7 of Dorian Gray

Chapters 1-2

1. Describe the relationship between Lord Henry and Basil Hallward.

2. What does Basil believe are the only two eras of importance in world’s history?

3. According to Lord Henry, what is “the only way to get rid of temptation”?

4. What does Dorian Gray desperately wish for that he “would give [his] soul” to have it come true?

Chapters 3-4

1. What does Lord Henry learn about Dorian Gray at the beginning of chapter 3?

2. What does Lord Henry profess to be” terribly enthralling” in this chapter?

3. What advice does Lord Henry give the Duchess when she asks how she can become young again?

4. What does Lord Henry tell Dorian Gray is “the real secret of life”?

5. Where does Dorian request Basil and Henry accompany him to?

6. What news is in the telegram that Lord Henry receives from Dorian?

Chapter 5

1. Does Sibyl understand her relationship with Dorian in a mature way?

2. What does Sibyl’s brother, James, appear to have against Dorian, whom he has never met? What is ironic about his prejudices towards Dorian?

4. Describe the Vane family in terms of class. Which family member has the best sense of their (social) position?

Chapter 6

1. What does Dorian say or imply made him fall in love with Sibyl? Is it really Sibyl that he loves? Or does he love Juliet?

2. Under the spell of actress Sibyl, Dorian’s opinion of the refined Epicurean Henry appears to have changed, at least for now. How does Dorian redefine pleasure and what might Lord Henry find disagreeable about Dorian’s new definition?

3. Nonetheless, when the chapter ends with a carriage ride to the theater where Sibyl is to perform, Dorian rides with Lord Henry, not with Basil Hallward. Is that a disturbing portent with regard to Dorian’s intentions toward Sibyl?

4. Have you noticed something about Basil’s character in the course of reading this chapter? In what way does he take issues with Lord Henry’s amoral sparring with Dorian? Also, why does Basil brood silently at chapter’s end?

Chapter 7

1. Why does Sibyl perform badly? Why does Dorian reject her afterwards? What do his reasons tell us about him?

2. What has happened to Dorian’s portrait when he returns home? What does he resolve to do?

Chapter 8

1. How does Lord Henry console Dorian Gray in this chapter? Is his consolation effective?

2. Interpret Lord Henry’s quote: “Life has always poppies in her hands” (98).

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