What the worm was to the corpse, his sins would be to the painted image on the canvas. They would mar its beauty, and eat away its grace. They would defile it, and make it shameful. And yet the thing would still live on. It would always be alive.

– Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Chapter 10. Dorian uses the metaphor of worms on a corpse to describe how his sins would mar the beauty of his portrait painted by Basil and reflect the corruption of his soul. There is strong Gothic symbolism in the description of the "alive" portrait of his soul. He arranges for the picture with its "face on the canvas viler than before" to be covered over, taken to an attic room and hidden from view "from prying eyes."