Forgiving the Artist

Inspired by the Picture of Dorian Gray, this is written in the viewpoint of Dorian, who has lived on to Modern Day and has realised his mistakes. He is writing one last letter to the man that made him who he was. The artist behind the man. “Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray


1. Dorian's Letter

Dear Basil Hallward,

My dear, Basil, only now do I see my mistakes, how the day I relished in stripping the life from you, as you would have once stripped the drying paint from those lovely brushes you had once painted me with. The same paintbrushes that bid my soul, into a portrait. That would later become the bane of my very existence. Little did I know, in this moment you had placed as much as yourself in that painting, as had I. Although you may have found this to be true at the time, I had not. 

For you had continued to age, your soul had not physically been encased in the painting, instead you had put yourself in it, willingly, even if it had not been intentional. You had sensed my youth and beauty were to be corrupted; by someone I had once considered a friend, an inspiration. But you had seen the poison he was dripping slowly through his words into my mind, casting me further into my own vanity and to perhaps what would become my insanity. 

I could not find the will to prevent the events to later follow; my many addictions, leading my once beautiful portrait to become twisted, diseased and ridden with all that is wrong with the world. I apologise now for the disdain I felt towards you, I have learnt only in the last few years that your words of advice and what I had viewed as jealousy were merely your thoughts and care for my well-being. Having been the only person at the time who was able to see kindness in the world, you saw more potential in me than those I surrounded myself with.

I fear I have let you down Mr. Hallward, for I did not remain as innocent as you had hoped me to be, instead following a much darker path carved out for me by the twisted hands of fate and the devil himself. Although I was worshipped by the world, after a while your absence became the very thing that prevented the world from being quite so fulfilling. Your hopefulness and optimism to see the innate goodness of mankind, even where it was not present. Is something to be admired, I contemplate now, had your soul truly been stolen into the painting, would we have become one? Would your admiration for the stars shining so brightly in my future eventually brought me back to the path of the light, or would the darkness that had already consumed my entire being broken you? Turned you into the monster I have become?

I do not know why this sudden revision of perception has occurred to me on this cold winter morning, perhaps purely because it has been over a century now since you have graced this earth and the weight of what I have done in this time is overbearing, perhaps I know that of all people, you would be one to comfort me to help radiate some light onto my current situation. For in my time on this earth love has not graced me other than the one Sybil Vane, yet we know how that ended, I had loved who she portrayed, the characters she had been, when on the stage. Not for the woman she would be to me. 'Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic'. For both the lovely Sibyl Vane and I the tragically exquisite on both behalf's was love. I now fear that love has been and will always result in nothing but tragedy. Were you, My dear Basil, ever in love? Did the beauty of romance grace your lips? Your body? Your soul? Or perhaps, was it once blooming into an obsession with one youthful boy you felt was so aesthetically pleasing you could do nothing but will yourself to paint him and begin to give yourself away as you did so? Was that perhaps the reason that despite my arrogant and stubborn nature you persisted in trying to assist what was left of me to the light?

I understand that an answer will never be spoken, nor my letter to you read, for I did not see in time what I was becoming. However I wish you to know that your efforts had not been in vain, over the years my story, my life has become nothing but misery, for the world as you knew it, ceases to exist. Instead the world has almost become what you once feared, and what I had once rejoiced in. My name has become legend, but I have not. Instead I am forced to live out my days alone, all we have known is gone, the people, society, even the art that was once your specialty. All but disappeared in a cloud of dust. I am unable to express my thanks that you are not here to witness the cruelty of man. But am also unable to express my regret that it was because of me that you had to leave the world so soon. For the world has never needed you more. 

To my dear friend, inspiration and perhaps more. I give my deepest regrets and sorrows and only wish I am able to perhaps find you in your next life.

Yours Truly,

Dorian Gray.

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