The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde
The story “The Happy Prince” has at least three themes. The first theme of the story is that outward beauty is nothing. It is just a show. The real beauties are love and sacrifices. The second theme is that love and sacrifice are two saving forces. The third theme is that there is great gap between the rich and the poor, the rulers and the masses. When the happy prince is alive, he lives in a palace where sorrow is not allowed to enter. He lives a life of happiness. However, when he dies his courtiers set u his statute on a tall column. The statue of the happy prince sees all the misery of the city. He weeps when he sees people in trouble. He wants to help them. A swallow stays at the feet of the statue of the happy prince for the night. On happy prince’s request, he prolongs his stay and helps the poor with the ruby and the sapphires. When the happy prince cannot see any more, the swallow decides to stay with the happy prince forever. The he helps the people with the gold covering of the happy prince. At the end, he dies frost. The heart of the happy prince also breaks. Once, the mayor and the town councilors pass by the stature of the happy prince. They are shocked to see it without ruby, sapphires, and gold covering. It looks ugly without them. They pull it down and decide to make another statue. The heart of the happy prince not melt in the furnace and the workers throw it on the dust heap where the dead swallow is already lying. An angel comes and takes both the heart and the dead Swallow to God as two precious things. (296) 1. “The Happy Prince” is a fairly tale. Discuss.
No doubt, the story “The Happy Prince” is a fairy tale. In a fairly tale we find unreal characters like fairies, giants, witches and talking animals. It is a story, which is hard to believe. The events of a fairy tale do not happen in real life. The most important quality of a fairy tale is that it always has a happy conclusion. When we read the story, we find that it is a perfect fairy tale. It fulfils all the requirements of a fairy tale. Firstly, we find two imaginary characters – a talking Swallow and a talking statue. In our daily life, we do not find such characters. Secondly, we see the statue of the Happy Prince shedding tears on the sufferings of the poor. He has sapphire eyes and a lead heart. However, he can see through these sapphire eyes and has love and sympathies for the poor in his lead heart. This is highly unbelievable and it does not happen in real life. A statue has no eyes and no heart. Thirdly, we see that the Swallow first picks off ruby, sapphires, and then gold covering without any tools. This is also unbelievable. Fourthly, the end of the story is also fairy tale like. No doubt, the Swallow and the statue of the Happy Prince are dead and on the dust heap. However, this is not the real ending. The real ending is that the Swallow will always sing in the garden of Paradise and the Happy Prince will always praise God in the city of gold. This is quite a happy ending and fulfils the most important requirement of a fairy tale. Therefore, we can conclude that the story “The Happy Prince” is a perfect fairy tale. (291) 2. How has the writer brought out poverty in the story “The Happy Prince”? The writer has brought out poverty in a very beautiful manner. The son of the tailor is suffering from fever. He is thirsty and asking for oranges. However, she is a poor tailor. She cannot buy oranges for her son. She is embroidering passionflowers for the Queen’s maids-of-honour. Her poverty is very touching. The poverty of the writers of the Victorian age has also been reflected very beautifully. The young writer is cold and hungry. Hunger has made him faint. The little weeping match girl also depicts the poverty of the Victorian age. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. The beggars are sitting at the gates of the houses of the rich...