Explain the significance of the title "The Happy Prince."

The title "The Happy Prince" is significant because it describes how the prince moves from the superficial happiness of indulging his own pleasures while alive to the deeper, wiser, and, finally, eternal happiness of helping others after his death.

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The Happy Prince in Oscar Wilde's short story is the name given to the prince of a realm while he is alive. He lived cloistered in a palace outside of his city. The palace was surrounded by a high wall. Inside of it, everything was beautiful and his life was...

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The Happy Prince in Oscar Wilde's short story is the name given to the prince of a realm while he is alive. He lived cloistered in a palace outside of his city. The palace was surrounded by a high wall. Inside of it, everything was beautiful and his life was filled with pleasure. He was happy or "Sans-Souci"—without care—because he didn't know how other people suffered.

The title of the story is significant because the prince's idea of what it is to be happy changes and grows after he dies. At this point, he becomes a statue of himself, placed in the middle of his city. When the Swallow meets him, the prince is very unhappy, because he has become aware of all the poverty and misery in his realm but now can do nothing about it, because he is a statue and can no longer move.

The prince, however, is able to persuade the good-hearted Swallow to strip off his gold and jewels and sell these materials to help alleviate the pain others experience from material want. Through this, the prince becomes happy in a deeper, more spiritual, and more satisfying way than he ever did while alive and only concerned with his own pleasures. By the time he and the Swallow die, they have done great good for the poor and are taken to heaven when God sends an angel to bring him the two most "precious things" in the city:

“You have rightly chosen,” said God, “for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me.”

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