The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 8 - 10 Summary

After his horrible night of wandering the streets of London, after his breakup with Sibyl Vane, Dorian awakes the next day and wonders if the previous night was just a dream or reality.

As he tries to make sense of the previous evening, he sees the screen and remembers the changes to the picture, which is hidden behind it. He tries to decide if the changes to the picture are real or just his imagination. He is afraid to confirm his suspicion about the picture and at the same time afraid not to. Finally, he gathers up his courage and looks at the picture, which confirms his worst fear. The picture is different, it shows his mouth with a cruel smile upon its lips. He is full of remorse over the way he treated Sibyl, he decides he truly does want to marry her and he writes her a letter confessing his true feelings to her, asking for her forgiveness.

Before he can have the letter delivered to Sibyl, Lord Henry visits Dorian to check on how he is doing. This leaves Dorian confused, because while he was embarrassed by Sibyl's performance, Lord Henry does not know he broke off the engagement. Lord Henry has the sad duty to tell Dorian of Sibyl's death. She had ingested some poison in her dressing room and died instantly. While Dorian is stunned, he does not feel the utter grief normally associated with this type of tragedy. Lord Henry is more concerned with Dorian's reputation, because an inquest is being held to determine the circumstances of Sibyl's death.

Dorian does not think he can be tied to Sibyl by any of her acquaintances and so he would not be stained by the scandal of her suicide. Dorian does feel responsible for Sibyl's death. If he had not broken off with her, in such a cruel manner, than she would probably still be alive.

Dorian is now convinced the portrait will take on the physical attributes of every sin he commits. He feels this is somehow just and he is deserving of this miracle.

Basil Hallward visits Dorian the next morning to express his sympathy over the death of Sibyl Vane. He is astonished to find out Dorian had spent the previous evening at the opera with Lord Henry. He is even more outraged, to find Dorian has moved on from his feelings of sorrow over the loss of Sibyl. He promises to speak no more of Sibyl's death, but instead he changes the subject to the picture he painted of Dorian.

He wishes to see the picture, after he observes Dorian has hidden it behind a screen. Dorian is adamant that Basil should not see the painting. He tells Basil if he looks at the painting then he will never speak to Basil again. Basil is taken aback by his friend's vehement statement, but promises to abide by his wishes. He does tell Dorian he intends to use the piece as the main exhibit at an art show of his work, in Paris. Dorian is equally vehement the picture is never to be put on public display.

Basil is confused by his friend's actions and asks him why he is behaving in such a manner. Instead, Dorian turns the tables on Basil and gets him to confess his own feelings for Dorian. He tells him of his deep fondness and even possessiveness of Dorian. Dorian tells him what he has said does not even constitute a compliment and he will never sit for Basil again. He does want to keep him for a friend, though. Dorian in the end decides he must forever hide the picture.

Dorian calls for his servant and has him send for the frame-maker and summon the housekeeper. He also sends his servant on an errand to deliver a note to Lord Henry, this is a ruse to get the man out of the house, while Dorian has the picture moved. He has convinced himself his servant is trying to sneak a peek at the picture, but he realizes he is only imagining it.

The housekeeper is surprised by Dorian's request for the key to his old school-room. She wants to clean it up before Dorian enters the room, but he is insistent she turn over the key to him immediately. She does so reluctantly and she is curious as to why Dorian would want to enter the room now, after leaving the room untouched for five years.

Once the frame-maker and his helper arrive, they move the wrapped picture up into the school-room for Dorian. Once it is behind locked doors, Dorian begins to feel more at ease about the security of the picture. He alone holds the key to the room, so he knows no one else will be able to see the ravages of time and sin on the painting.

Lord Henry sends Dorian a book and the latest edition of the newspaper which has an article concerning the inquest into the death of Sibyl Vane. The death has been ruled a "death by misadventure". Dorian is in the clear, no one knows of his association with Sibyl. The book Lord Henry has sent, catches Dorian's interest, which causes him to be late for his dinner appointment with Lord Henry.

Dorian discovers Sibyl has taken her own life, because of her despair about their broken engagement. He is sad to hear of her death and he does feel some sense of responsibility, but he is not as distraught as he thought he would be. He is, however, very worried someone will see the painting and notice how it ages, while he does not.

Related Links:

The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 8 - 10 Quiz
The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 11 - 12 Summary
The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 13 - 15 Summary
The Picture of Dorian Gray Summary
The Picture of Dorian Gray Quotes
The Picture of Dorian Gray Important Characters
The Picture of Dorian Gray Quiz
Literature Summaries
Oscar Wilde Facts

To link to this The Picture of Dorian Gray Chapters 8 - 10 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: