Happy Prince is a story based on love and humanity. Do you agree? Give reasons.

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Happy Prince is one of the stories in The Happy Prince and Other Tales collection by Oscar Wilde. It is indeed a story based on love and humanity. Basically, the love of the prince for his people and the love of the little swallow for the prince became the means by which the poor of the city were ministered to.

The Happy Prince was once a real prince. When he was alive and had a human heart, he never knew the meaning of sadness. He had lived in great splendor and joy all the days of his life; now that he is dead, he must behold 'all the ugliness and all the misery' of his city from his high vantage point. He tells the swallow that even though he has a leaden heart, he cannot stop his tears from flowing at the sight of so much suffering.

In the story, we are told that The Happy Prince is 'gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.' Because of his great love for the poor of his city, the prince ordered the swallow to deliver the ruby on his sword to a struggling seamstress with a sickly, young son. One of his sapphire eyes went to help a starving, young playwright; the other went to a little match-girl. At last, even the gilded, gold leaves of his body were delivered to the rest of his poor subjects. The prince spared nothing to aid his needy people.

Both the swallow and the Happy Prince personified the qualities of love, compassion, and selfless generosity. After the prince lost his sapphire eyes, the swallow promised him life-long devotion even though he knew no swallow ever survived the cold of winter. While good deeds kept the swallow warm for a time, his little body could never endure the merciless winter chill indefinitely. Thus, the sacrifices of both the swallow and the Happy Prince brought much happiness and relief to suffering humanity.