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The measure of man

“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June... If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that-for that-I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”
— Dorian Gray

What has a man profited if he gains the world but loses his soul? Probably not much though that realization would take a while to sink in as riches in the physical plane can be very distracting. The allegory paints a deep, chilling portrait, yet remains subtle and never abrupt.

Dorian Gray spent eighteen years experimenting with every vice possible without any physical effect. Instead, the effects were reflected in the portrait that he kept hidden at all times. Eventually his sins catch up with his consciences and he decides something must be done.

Why is hedonism so attractive? Why do we succumb to beauty quicker than any other temptation? What makes us reject eternal truths for evident untruths? These were just some of the many themes this late nineteenth century classic by Oscar Wilde explores.