Hans Christian Andersen

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What is the conflict of the story "The Loveliest Rose in the World" by Hans Christian Andersen?

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The story “The Loveliest Rose in the World” by Hans Christian Andersen presents two conflicts. Initially, the queen’s illness and impending death seem to constitute the primary conflict, as the queen is loved by her people, who do not want to lose her. The wisest of doctors offers a solution: “Bring her the loveliest rose in the world; one which exhibits the purest and brightest love, and if it is brought to her before her eyes close, she will not die.” This should completely resolve the first conflict; however, it makes way for a secondary conflict—what is the loveliest rose?

The remainder of the short story focuses on this subsequent conflict, as each time a character brings a new rose to the queen, he or she is told that while the rose is beautiful, it is not the loveliest rose. When the loveliest of roses is finally found, the story comes to a tragic but beautiful conclusion: the true rose will not save the queen from physical death, only spiritual death, as it is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that is the most beautiful rose. This discovery resolves both conflicts presented in the story.

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