The novel begins with Lord Henry Wotton observing the artist Basil Hallward painting the portrait of a handsome young man named Dorian Gray. Dorian arrives later and meets Wotton. After hearing Lord Henry's world view, Dorian begins to think beauty is the only worthwhile aspect of life, the only thing left to pursue. He wishes that the portrait Basil is painting would grow old in his place. Under the influence of Lord Henry, Dorian begins to explore his senses. He discovers actress Sibyl Vane, who performs Shakespeare in a dingy theatre. Dorian approaches her and soon proposes marriage. Sibyl, who refers to him as "Prince Charming," rushes home to tell her skeptical mother and brother. Her protective brother James tells her that if "Prince Charming" harms her, he will certainly kill him.
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