The Happy Prince Summary – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde'S The Happy Prince, Published In May 1888, Is A Fairy Tale Book.
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Oscar Wilde’sThe Happy Prince, published in May 1888, is a fairy tale book.

This is a story that gives the book its title, The Happy Prince, is the most well-known. The tale recounts the efforts of a statue of a prince, adorned with precious gems, and his friend, a small swallow, to help the poor and oppressed people in their city. Some critics interpret the story as a critique of capitalist ideologies.

Summary Of The Happy Prince

A swallow delays its migration to Egypt for the winter because it falls in love with a reed. After leaving this love, it settles on the pedestal of a golden statue in a town, where it meets the Happy Prince. From his high vantage point, the statue sees all the poverty and suffering in the town, especially the suffering of children. He pleads with the swallow to help alleviate some of this pain by delivering his precious belongings to those in need.

First, the swallow delivers the ruby from the hilt of the Happy Prince’s sword to a seamstress struggling to feed her sick son. One of the statue’s sapphire eyes goes to a writer freezing in his garret, and the other to a young match girl who will be beaten by her father if she returns home empty-handed. The swallow, having grown to love the Prince, chooses to stay with him even after he loses his eyes, telling him stories of Egypt to keep his spirits up as the winter grows colder.

Eventually, the winter becomes too harsh, and the swallow realizes that death is near. It confesses its love to the Happy Prince, and they exchange a kiss. The swallow dies, and the Happy Prince’s lead heart breaks.

Later, the Mayor and the Town Council pass by the statue. Disturbed by its state of neglect, they decide to melt it down and recast it. However, the lead heart does not melt, so it is thrown onto a rubbish heap along with the swallow’s body. God then sends an angel to bring him the two most precious things in the city, which turn out to be the dead swallow and the broken heart of the Prince. In recognition of their brave sacrifices, God promises the Happy Prince and the swallow eternal life in paradise.

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