Story Analysis of Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde: Money Doesn't Buy You Happiness

Categories: Oscar Wilde Short Story

I chose the tale about the Happy Prince. The story is about the statue of the prince who died, and who gave out all of his belongings to the poor with the help of the Swallow. The reasons why I chose, and like this tale are many.A long time ago, I read Oscar Wilde's stories, but now I am trying to reach the deepest meanings of his work. The first thing which comes up to my mind is the question, why did the prince care after he died? Why didn't he care while he was still alive? He was very happy.

He enjoyed the happiness, life, and wealth. The writer never mentioned that the prince cared about his people during his life. All the houses, cars, money, and everything else is actually worth nothing.

We can be millionaires, have houses, villas, cars, everything we want, but in the end, we will all end up in the same box, just like the Italian proverb about the chess game says: "After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box".

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What's really worth, and what really counts is what we do before we end up in that box. We are like timers, set up for a specific time. Every wasted second is a wasted opportunity for a good deed. Our deeds will remain even after our death. We may be forgotten, but our deeds will be remembered, and the best deed we do is the one which nobody knows we did.

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The prince symbolizes wealth, therefore this tale is primarily aimed at the wealthy ones.

The Swallow doesn't care about the rubies, nor the gold, but about his travel. The Swallow symbolizes empathy in this tale, so the writer is giving a great lesson to all of us through this story. Wealth, joined with empathy equals greatness. The next question which came up to my mind is: "What actually is this greatness, and wealth?". It is definitely not the gold, nor the rubies, nor to look like a beggar, nor being poor, but our actual deeds. That's what makes us all humans. Our acts will determine our future. Our sacrifice for the good, and for the best is the key to our greatness. Just being humans is already great, indeed, but we can be even greater tough. We are the ones gifted with intelligence, let's respect that. It sometimes feels like a loan given to us, so let's use it, because even just a single smile is a good deed.

Works cited

  1. Wilde, O. (1888). The Happy Prince. In The Happy Prince and Other Tales. David Nutt.
  2. Ellmann, R. (1988). Oscar Wilde. Vintage.
  3. Sagar, K. (2007). Oscar Wilde. Northcote House Publishers.
  4. Morgan, N. (1997). Oscar Wilde: A Life. H. Holt.
  5. Holland, M. (2004). The Unexpected Oscar Wilde: The Critical History of an Epigrammatic Genius. Open Court.
  6. Hyde, H. M. (2010). Oscar Wilde: A Biography. Wordsworth Editions.
  7. Raby, P. (1988). Oscar Wilde. Cambridge University Press.
  8. Warwick, A. (2008). Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Irish. University of Chicago Press.
  9. Eriksen, D. (1999). Oscar Wilde. Reaktion Books.
  10. Kafka, F. (2015). The Happy Prince: The Original Story by Oscar Wilde (Illustrated). Fugu-Fish Publishing.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Story Analysis of Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde: Money Doesn't Buy You Happiness. (2024, Feb 06). Retrieved from

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