The Happy Prince: Summary and Analysis

The Happy Prince is a beautiful story by Oscar Wilde. It tells the story of a statue of a Prince that was studded with gems and gold leaves. It also had a swallow that helped needy people.

The Happy Prince Summary

There was a statue of the Happy Prince, and it stood high. It was decorated with delicate gold leaves. There was sapphire in his eye and ruby on his sword. A swallow was flying over the city to Egypt and decided to rest on the statue. Drops of water fell on the swallow, and he saw that the prince’s eyes had tears in them. The swallow asked the reason the prince wept. The prince told him that when he lived, he lived in a palace where sorrow was not allowed to enter, and since his death, he can only see the horror of the city. He sees a woman doing embroidery, while her child is sick and has nothing to eat. He asks the swallow to give the woman the ruby from his sword. The swallow did that and decided to stay with the prince for a night.

The prince asked the swallow to stay another night. He told him that he saw a man who was too cold to write the play and asked the swallow to give him the sapphire from his eye. He asked the swallow the give the other sapphire to the crying girl who destroyed all her matches. The swallow told the prince that he would stay with him because he was now blind.

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The following day, the prince asked the swallow to fly over the city and inform him of the happenings. The swallow saw the rich enjoying their beautiful houses while the poor were sad and hungry. He plucked the gold leaves and distributed them to the poor. The prince now looked dull and grey. The poor of the city were happy and had bread to eat. There was snow everywhere and the swallow was very cold. He thought he would die soon and asked the prince to kiss him. After that, the swallow died.

The following day, the mayor observed how shabby the statue looked and the councilors agreed. The mayor proclaimed that birds were not allowed to die there. They pulled the statue down and melted it. However, the prince’s heart did not melt. They threw it in the garbage pool with the dead bird.

When God asked the Angel to bring the most precious things from the city, the Angel got him the leaden heart and the dead bird. God praised his choice and announced that the bird would sing in the garden of Paradise, and the prince would praise him.

The Happy Prince Analysis

The story is about a prince’s statue and a swallow who sacrificed their lives to help the poor and needy. The statue named the Happy Prince was covered in gold, had sapphires for eyes, and ruby in his sword. The Happy Prince saw the people’s sufferings but could not move and help them. One day, a swallow who was on his way to Egypt landed on the statue and found it weeping. He was full of pity and asked why the Happy Prince was crying. He replied that he could see people in hunger and wished to help them and asked the swallow for a favor. The Happy Prince helped a seamstress by sending his ruby through the bird and then requested the bird to take out the sapphire from his eyes and give it to the playwright, who was about to faint out of the cold and hunger. He sent the other sapphire to the match girl. The Happy Prince was now blind. The swallow stayed with him and helped him take gold off and give it to the poor. The swallow could not survive and died. This led to the statue’s heart breaking into two. The next day, the Mayor ordered to pull the statue down and melted. The leaden heart could not be melted in a heap of dust, where the dead swallow lay.

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God ordered that the Angel carried them from the city and praised the Angel for choosing the leaden heart and the Swallow. God said that the bird would forever sing in his garden of Paradise, and the Happy Prince would praise him in his city of gold.

The Happy Prince Theme

The story is based on the theme that one should always show compassion to the needy and help them. One must always spread happiness around if they wish to be happy. The Happy Prince could be happy only when sorrow did not enter his palace. The pain and suffering made his lead heart cry. The story says that one can overcome disparity and sorrow with passion and generosity.

The Happy Prince Character Sketch

The swallow is kind and polite. He had to go to Egypt but stayed back on the prince’s requests. He helped the prince distribute his jewels among the poor and needy. He was compassionate and refused to remove the sapphires because it was the prince’s eyes. He chose to stay with the prince and braved the cold and hunger until his last breath.

The Happy Prince was a statue that was decorated with gold, sapphire, and ruby. He could see the sorrow of the people, and it made him sad. He wept because he was helpless and requested the swallow to help him. He was generous and gave away all of his jewels to help the needy. He loved the swallow and could not bear separation from it. 

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The Happy Prince Analysis Key Points

The story is about the Happy Prince and a swallow, who help the poor and the downtrodden in society. It gives the message that one should be sensitive to the people in suffering and help them. The story brings forward the virtues of kindness and pity and talks about sacrifice. The Happy Prince chose to give up his stones, but he retained his glory.