I felt that this grey monstrous London of ours, with its myriads of people, its sordid sinners, and its splendid sins, as you once phrased it, must have something in store for me. I fancied a thousand things. The mere danger gave me a sense of delight…I don’t know what I expected, but I went out and wandered eastward, soon losing my way in a labyrinth of grimy streets and black grassless squares.

– Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Chapter 4. London was the largest and most powerful city in the world in the 19th century, when the story takes place. The moral degeneration of the city and the ambivalent attitude of Victorians towards their capital’s decadence is reflected in Dorian’s description to Lord Henry of his stroll through the East End. The city’s East End with its "sordid sinners" and its "splendid sins" is like another character in the novel, its corruption represents the corruption that will soon be Dorian’s.