The Victorian AgeHow do you think that "The Happy Prince" is a representatie of the Victorian Age in which the writer lived?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Agreed- the shallowness of the Victorian middle and upper classes, their eternal rat-race for social progress, the elitism, materialism, and snobbery typical of the "polite Victorian society" radically clashed against its idealistic and hypocritical attempts at religiosness, prudeness, and charity. 

All the virtues that Victorians aimed to preach fell on their own deaf ears, and extravagance clearly took center stage against charity, elitism and snobbery took the place of tolerance, and so on.

This Prince is trying to make up for his people's and his society's flaws. He now understands the sadness of the needy, and the true scheme of things. He even develops a heart and suffers the human experience of death. No longer is he a shallow, jewel-studded artifice of the upper classes. He is now making his life worth living.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is it possible that the sense of loss and the gloomy mood might lend itself to this age?  The tale is a cross between nurturing instruction cautioning the reader against selfiishness or some other vice (typical of the Victorian Era) and realism since the tales often end unhappily.  Of course, this could also be attributed to Wilde's own emotional roller coaster with an immense period of shame (the trial and his imprisonment).

mehr | Student

 How do you think that " "The Happy Prince" is a representatie of the Victorian Age in which the writer lived?

epollock | Student

In the last two lines of this famous story by Oscar Wilde:

‘Bring me the two most precious things in the city,’ said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.

‘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.’

A swallow who had died, and a Prince who was a statue, go to heaven to live on in forever.

The Victorian Age was an age of prosperity, and the Prince uses his jewels to make people prosperous. It is also a tale of friendship between a statue and a swallow in which two unlikely things can create bonds.

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