The Happy Prince Summary Analysis and Explanation
About the Poet Oscar Wilde
||16 October 1854, Westland Row, Dublin, Ireland
||30 November 1900, Paris, France
||Constance Lloyd (m. 1884–1898)
||Wilde, Dorian Gray, An Ideal Husband, A Good Woman, MORE
The Happy Prince Introduction
The Happy Prince is a story by Oscar Wilde. It is about the story of a statue, the Happy Prince, covered with gold and many fine jewels. It sits overlooking the city. One day a swallow bird seeks shelter under the statue and discovers the prince not happy, but sad.
The bird becomes friendly with the prince and tries to make him happy by assisting him in his desire to ease the suffering of others. It plucks out the ruby, the sapphire and other fine jewels from the statue and delivers them to those who are poor and needy.
The Happy Prince Summary of the Lesson
The story of the Happy Prince dwells upon the themes like social injustice, redemptive power of love and the loss of innocence. In this story, we come across a statue, who, at one time, a real Prince. When the Prince was alive, he was a happy person. He lived in the palace and did not know about human suffering. His life was full of joys. Upon his death, his statue was built at the top of a tall column in the city.
The statue was covered all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt. The statue of the Happy Prince looked beautiful and everyone in the city loved to see their Prince. Since he was placed high above the city, on a tall column, the Prince was able to witness all the sorrows and sufferings which the common people faced in their daily life.
But the Prince remained ignorant of them during his life time. This made the Prince, once happy, very sad. His eyes got watered and large drops of tears began to run down his golden cheeks. A little swallow, who had alighted between the feet of the Happy Prince to spend night there, became curious to know where did the drops of water fall from. He looked up and saw the eyes of the Happy Prince full of tears.
The bird took pity on the Prince and became ready to assist him in his desire to ease the sufferings of the common people. He became the messenger of the Prince and agreed to remove the fine gold and jewels from his statue to distribute them among the poor and the needy.
He started with plucking the ruby from the Prince’s sword and giving it to the seamstress who had no money to feed her ailing child. Then he plucked a sapphire from one of the eyes of the statue and gave it to the playwright who was too poor to make fire in the winter to continue his writing. He was also very hungry and feeling weak.
One day, the Prince saw a match girl who was being beaten by her father for letting her matches fall in the gutter. The Prince’s heart filled with pity for the girl. He immediately commanded the swallow to pluck out his other eye and help the girl.
But the swallow was not ready to do so because this would make the Prince completely blind. On being insisted, he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, swooped past the match girl, and slipped the jewel ‘ into the palm of her hand. The little bird decided not to leave the company of the Happy Prince who had gone blind now. Although the Prince was not able to see the sorrows or sufferings any more, he knew it was there. So he instructed the bird to take off the fine gold he was covered with and give it to the poor.
The bird followed his words and picked off leaf after leaf of the gold, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Then the snow came and the poor little swallow grew older and colder. But he did not leave the Prince. Eventually he grew weak and died from exposure and exhaustion. Just at that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken.
It was, in fact, the leaden heart that had snapped right in two at the loss of the sweet and kind swallow. The statue was no more beautiful and useful. It stood deserted. So, the Town Councillors and the Mayor pulled it down. Then they melted the statue in a furnace but the broken heart did not melt. So, they threw it on a dust-heap where the dead swallow was lying.
When God asked one of His Angels to bring the two most precious things in the city, the Angel brought him the leaden heart and the dead bird. God welcomed the two in His garden of Paradise and deemed them beautiful creations.