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The Happy Prince
By- OSCAR WILDE
The title of the story, “The Happy Prince”, presents its elements in a symbolic manner. The story is about a prince who used to be happy when he was alive. However, he is very sad after he is placed atop a column as a statue. The prince appeared to be happy only because he knew nothing of life outside of his palace. Only after he died and became a statue did he learn of the people’s suffering and the disparity between the rich and the poor. He now sought happiness by sacrificing himself for the happiness of others. The title thus aptly suggests that the outward happiness of the prince is symbolic of the superficial joys in life. Real happiness lies in having a compassionate heart.
The statue of the Happy Prince is adorned with gold and precious stones. The Happy Prince gets happiness by d istributing the jewellery to the poor of the city. The swallow helps him to carry out his task. The Prince who was crying when the swallow met him, now feels happy that he has been able to make a number of poor people happy around the city. So the title ‘Happy Prince’ is apt. It is about the inner or real happiness of the prince at the cost of his out happiness.
The story is an allegory. It is based on the theme that love and sacrifice are important values in human life and happiness comes to those who make others happy. Those who have compassion and concern get as much joy as those who receive their kindness and charity. Hence, one must try to live a life guided by the virtues of love, sacrifice, benevolence and joy.
This story highlights the three themes. The first theme is that spiritual beauty or inner beauty is more important than outward beauty. The real beauty is love, compassionate heart and sacrifice. The prince and the swallow lost their outward beauty to attain inner beauty by helping the poor and needy. The second theme is the love, charity and sacrifices that make life going on in the world. The third theme os the story is that there is a huge gap between the rich and the poor. We should help the poor and needy people in society so that they are able to lead a happy life.