The Happy Prince By Oscar Wild: Summary Themes Message: In this article you would find notes based on the story “The happy Prince” including short and long summary, themes and message of the story. You can click here for study materials for class 9 English.
“The Happy Prince” is a poignant and allegorical tale written by Oscar Wilde. The story is set in a city where a beautiful statue of a prince, once a wealthy and pampered young man, stands adorned with gold and precious jewels. After his death, his spirit resides in the statue.
One day, a swallow, en route to Egypt, seeks shelter under the statue. The swallow’s compassionate heart prompts it to stay and help the needy in the city. The Happy Prince, deeply moved by the suffering he observes, instructs the swallow to distribute his gold and jewels to the poor. The selfless bird complies, helping the city’s downtrodden despite the challenges of cold weather and diminishing strength.
The Happy Prince’s kindness knows no bounds. He even sacrifices his eyes and the leaden heart to help a poor playwright, a sick child, and a matchgirl. The swallow, weakened and nearing death, remains loyal to the prince. When the swallow dies, God rewards its selflessness by allowing it to sing eternally in paradise.
Upon seeing the deteriorated statue, the city officials remove it, considering it no longer beautiful. However, God recognizes the true worth of the Happy Prince’s sacrifices. He deems the leaden heart and the dead swallow the city’s most precious possessions. The swallow’s loyalty earns it a place in God’s paradise, and the Happy Prince is allowed to praise God eternally in a heavenly city of gold.
The story beautifully illustrates themes of compassion, sacrifice, and the true meaning of beauty, highlighting the selflessness of the Happy Prince and the devoted swallow.
- The story is set in a city where a magnificent statue of a prince, once a living ruler, stands tall.
- The statue is adorned with gold and precious jewels, symbolizing the prince’s former wealth and luxury.
The Happy Prince:
- A statue of a prince, whose spirit resides within it after his death.
- Initially, he is adorned with gold, sapphires for eyes, and a ruby on his sword hilt.
- A kind and selfless bird migrating to Egypt.
- Seeks shelter under the Happy Prince and becomes his messenger to help the needy.
- The story begins with the introduction of the Happy Prince, a magnificent statue overlooking the city.
- A kind swallow seeks shelter under the prince’s statue, and they form a friendship.
The Prince’s Compassion:
- The Happy Prince sees the suffering of the city’s poor and becomes deeply compassionate.
- He asks the swallow to distribute his gold, jewels, and even his eyes to help the needy.
Acts of Kindness:
1. Helping the Playwright:
- The Happy Prince asks the swallow to pluck a sapphire from his eye and give it to a struggling playwright.
- The playwright sells the sapphire to buy firewood and completes his play.
2. Aiding the Sick Boy:
- The Happy Prince instructs the swallow to take a ruby from his sword hilt to help a sick child.
- The ruby is sold for food and medicine, saving the boy’s life.
3. Assisting the Matchgirl:
- The Happy Prince sacrifices his other eye (a rare sapphire) to help a matchgirl in dire straits.
- The swallow places the sapphire in her palm, allowing her to escape poverty temporarily.
Sacrifice and Loyalty:
- Despite the bitter cold and diminishing strength, the swallow remains with the Happy Prince, continuing their acts of kindness.
The Tragic End:
- The swallow, weakened and near death, shares a final moment with the prince.
- The swallow dies at the prince’s feet, and the prince’s heart breaks, signifying their shared sacrifice.
The Divine Recognition:
- God, recognizing the true value of compassion and selflessness, instructs an angel to bring Him the most precious things from the city.
- The angel brings the Happy Prince’s broken lead heart and the dead swallow.
- God praises the angel’s choice, stating that the swallow will sing in His garden of Paradise, and the Happy Prince will praise Him in His city of gold.
Compassion and Selflessness:
- The story emphasizes the importance of empathy and sacrifice for the well-being of others.
- Both the Happy Prince and the swallow demonstrate selfless acts of kindness, highlighting the theme of compassion.
Beauty and True Worth:
- The tale challenges conventional notions of beauty, portraying inner beauty derived from kindness and empathy as more valuable than external appearances.
Loyalty and Friendship:
- The enduring friendship between the Happy Prince and the swallow exemplifies loyalty and devotion, even in the face of hardship.
Sacrifice and Redemption:
- The sacrificial acts of the Happy Prince and the swallow lead to their redemption, as recognized by God in the divine reward.
“The Happy Prince” is a heartfelt story that explores themes of compassion, sacrifice, and the true meaning of beauty. Through the selfless acts of the Happy Prince and the loyal swallow, the story conveys profound lessons about empathy, kindness, and the eternal value of benevolent actions.