One of the things that stood out to me as I worked on my final paper was the way Wilde comes full circle in regards to the painting of Dorian. When Basil first finishes the painting, Dorian grows despondent after realizing that, while the Dorian in the painting will remain young and beautiful forever, he will not. Basil, upon seeing his friend’s sadness, decides that the painting, though his finest work, is not worth as much as his friendship, and takes up a knife, planning to destroy the painting. Dorian stops him, crying, “‘It would be murder!'” (Wilde 30). Basil stops, and eventually, the painting ends up in Dorian’s hands.
By the end of the novel, Dorian is again despondent, because he realizes what a terrible person he’s been. He goes to the room with the painting, and using the knife he used to murder Basil, stabs the painting. In doing so, the painting is restored to its original beauty, and Dorian is transformed into the person that was depicted in the painting. As it was the image of the aged Dorian that was stabbed, the living Dorian is now dead, by his own hand. It is ironic, because, had Dorian let Basil destroy the painting, it would not have been actual murder, and both of them would have probably lived.