”The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde Essay Sample
- Word count: 2920
- Category: sacrifice
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”The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde Essay Sample
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 people.
In dark lanes, there are children who have white starving faces. They are looking out listlessly at the black streets. People do not have their own houses go two little boys are lying under the archway of a bridge. It is cold so they are lying in one another’s arm to keep themselves warm. They are very hungry. Therefore, all these suggest the poverty of the Victorian age. (187) 3. How has the writer brought out exploitation in the story “The Happy Prince”? The writer has brought out exploitation very beautifully. The people at court, the Jews, and the rich are exploiting the poor. The Mayor and the Town Councilors represent the exploitation of the power. The son of the seamstress is suffering from fever, but she cannot attend to him. She is embroidering passionflowers for the Queen’s made-of-honour to wear at the next court-ball. The poor are working hard, but they cannot buy even oranges. This is the worst kind of exploitation. On one side, some people are so poor that they are starving and on the other hand the rich are making merry and the Jews are weighing out money on copper scales. The writers of that time are also being exploited. They are cold and cold with hunger.
The Mayor and the Town Councilors are exploiting their powers. Each one of them himself wants to have built statue. The Mayor even issues a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die there. This is purely an exploitation of power. (171) 4. How has the writer brought out hypocrisy in the story “The Happy Prince”? The writer has brought out hypocrisy in the story “The Happy Prince” in a very beautiful manner. One of the town councilors does not have artistic taste, but he wants to show that he has that artistic taste. He praises the beauty of the Happy Prince in the most inartistic way. He says that the statue is as beautiful as a weathercock. His simile shows how ignorant he is. He is so hypocrite that he adds that he is not quite useful for the fear of the people. Because in those days people believed that art must have had some usefulness, otherwise it was bad art. The town councilors are the worst example of hypocrisy. They always agree with the Mayor just to get his favour. They are so hypocrites that they even repeat the words spoken by the Mayor.
When the professor sees the Swallow, he writes a long letter to the local newspaper. It is full of so many words that people cannot understand it. However, they still quote it to each other just to show off. Therefore, this is how the writer shows the hypocrisy of the people. (191) 5. What is the theme of the story “The Happy Prince”? 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 beauty is the love and sacrifice. The end of the story gives this idea. The Happy Prince has a lead heart, but this heart is full of sympathies for the poor and the needy. He sacrifices his eyes and beauty just to help them. He gives away his gold covering bit by bit to the poor. Now without his eyes and gold covering, he looks so ugly that he is sent to furnace to melt. He has lost outward beauty, but with sacrifice and love, he has achieved spiritual beauty. God is pleased with him. After his death, he is taken to the city of gold where he will praise God forever.
The same happens with the Swallow. He sacrifices his life for the love of the Happy Prince. Nevertheless, he also achieves spiritual beauty. He will sing for evermore in God’s garden of Paradise. The second theme is that love and sacrifice are two saving forces. This world is full of poverty, hypocrisy, and exploitation. If there were no love and sacrifice, the world could not go on its axis. It is because of love and sacrifice that this life is going on. Therefore, it is true that love and sacrifice are two saving forces. The third theme of the story is that there is great gap between the rich and the poor, the rulers and the masses. The Happy Prince did not know about the poor and their problems when he was alive. Therefore, it means that the rulers at that time did not know about the problems and the difficulties of the masses. (295) 6. Why does the Happy Prince weep?
The Happy Prince weeps because he cannot bear the sufferings and the miseries of the poor and the needy. He weeps because he has a very soft heart, although it is made of lead. This heart had nothing but the sympathies for the poor and the needy. The writer values this lead heard so much that he tells the reader that this heart does not melt in the furnace. The Happy Prince used to live in the Palace of Sans-Souci. Sorrow was not allowed to enter the Palace. At that time, the Happy Prince did not know what tears were. In the daytime, he used to play with his companions in the garden. In the evening, he led the dance in the Great Hall. There was a very lofty wall around the garden. The Happy Prince did not know that what was beyond that wall. Inside this wall, everything was beautiful and he was very happy. His courtiers called him Happy Prince. After his death, his courtiers made his statue and set it up on a very tall column. Now from that height he can see all the ugliness and all the misery of the city. Therefore, he weeps because he has very soft heart and he cannot stand the miseries of the people. It is because of this soft heart that he sacrifices his beauty and sapphire eyes. (229)
7. What did the Swallow tell the Happy Prince about the city and the people? What did the Swallow report to the Happy Prince about human misery or suffering? When the Happy Prince gave away his sapphire eyes, he could not see any more. Therefore, he asked the Swallow to fly over his city and told him what he saw there. The Swallow flew over the great city and reported to the Happy Prince what he saw. He told the Happy Prince about the condition of the rich and the poor. The rich were making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. In the dark lanes, he saw the white faces of starving children.
These children were so hungry that they were looking out listlessly at the black streets. He told the Happy Prince a very miserable thing. He told him about the two boys who were hungry and homeless. These boys were lying under the archway of a bridge. They were cold so they were lying in one another’s arms to keep themselves warm, but the watchman did not let those boys lie under the bridge either. He drove them out into the rain. Therefore, the Swallow told the Happy Prince about the condition of the rich and the poor. The rich were hungry and homeless. When the Happy Prince listened to this, he asked the Swallow to give his gold covering to the poor and the needy. (216) 8. Discuss the end of the story “The Happy Prince”.
The story “The Happy Prince” is a fairy tale and the end of a fairly tale is always happy. In a fairly tale characters face difficulties and they endanger their lives to get their desired goals. They face so many hardships that it appears that they cannot succeed. However, at the end they always succeed and live happily ever after. In the story, “The Happy Prince” the end appears tragic. The Swallow and the Happy Prince both die and are thrown on a dust heap. However, this is not the real end of the story. The Swallow and the Happy Prince has sacrificed their lives to help the poor and the needy. God is happy with their sacrifices. Therefore, God rewards them and orders that the Swallow will sing in the garden of paradise and the Happy Prince will praise him. Therefore, we see that this is quite a happy ending. It fulfills the most important requirement of a fairy tale. This end cannot be called a tragic end. (169)
1. Inciting moment
The city stood the statue of the Happy Prince, which is very beautiful, decorated with fine gold, ruby and sapphires. The citizens love it, however, some of them think it is not useful.
At the beginning of this story, the author directly described the Happy Prince’s appearance and then used the citizens’ words to emphasize the “happy” image of the Happy Prince. However, after reading the whole story, we can noticed that the name of the Happy Prince is ironic, since he wasn’t happy at all.
The Swallow fall in love with Reed, so he didn’t go to Egypt with the other swallows. After other swallows had gone, he felt lonely and tired of his lover, the Reed. The swallow think the Reed is a coquettish girl, so he decided to leave her.
This part led to the reason why the Swallow departed and met the Happy Prince. We also think that the love for the Reed is not the passion of the Swallow’s life.
The Swallow arrived at the city and alighted between the feet of the Happy Prince. A drop fell on the Swallow, and he found out that the drop was the Prince’s tear. The Happy Prince demanded the Swallow to be his messenger, helping him to bring the jewels to someone in need; however, the Swallow agreed reluctantly.
In this episode, the Swallow grudgingly promised to help the Happy Prince contrasts with the behavior that he willingly stayed with the Happy Prince and even sacrifice his life.
The Happy Prince became blind, so the Swallow decided to stay with him and replaced his empty eyes, to watch the city and tell the Happy Prince what he sees. The Happy Prince then requested the Swallow to take off the fine gold covered on him and sent the gold to the poor.
Although the Happy Prince lost his eyes, he still gave away his last precious decoration-the gold. This shows the meaningful spirit of self-sacrifice. It was when the Swallow looked around the city discovering the misery and was moved by the kind Happy Prince that made him stay.
The Swallow soon realized he would die because of the cold winter. He determined not to leave the Prince, because he loved him so much.
This is another example for self-sacrifice.
The Prince asked the Swallow to kiss his lips, and the Swallow did so then fell down at the Prince’s feet. At that moment, a crack sounded inside the statue as the Prince’s heart broke. The statue was then pulled down and put into a furnace as it was no longer deemed “beautiful”.
The dramatic heart crack happens at the time that the Swallow died, we think that it represent that the Happy Prince is totally heartbroken and also felt desperate with the city.
7. Moment of last suspense:
Finally, the God asked his angels to find “the two most precious things in the city .” The Happy Prince’s broken heart would not melt and was brought up to heaven along with the dead swallow.
At the final part of this tragic story, the author used the God to convey that though the world is miserable, there is always something warm and nice happening around to illuminate our world, just like the Happy Prince and the Swallow.
The Swallow came across the Happy Prince after he ended the relationship with the Reed. At first, the Swallow tried to get out of the Happy Prince by promising to distribute his ruby to the poor woman and stay with him for a
night. However, the Swallow became much uncertain about his trip to Egypt after he finish many requests from the Happy Prince. He started to see the misery of the city and that had made him to stay with the Happy Prince. Although, in the end, the Swallow and the Happy Prince were abandoned by the people in the city, they still accomplished their dream to help the poor. We thought that it is irony because the citizen firstly regarded the Happy Prince as the positive representation of the city, but after the Happy Prince became shabby, they immediately scraped him. We believed that the writer tried to convey the precious principle” we can devote ourselves to do good things for others” just like the Happy Prince and the Swallow.