The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

Start Free Trial

What is the name of the Happy Prince's palace?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In this story, the castle in which the Happy Prince lived when alive was called Sans Souci, which means "without worry or care." As the statue of the Happy Prince tells the swallow, he lived behind high walls and knew nothing but happiness—which, in his limited world, was the same as pleasure.

After the Happy Prince dies and is made into a beautiful, costly statue, he can see the misery all around him. At this point, the name of his castle becomes ironic to the prince; it comes to mean the opposite of without care. He realizes that his pleasure was built on the intense and overwhelming cares and worries of other people. His statue heart bleeds for the suffering he sees everywhere: sickness, hunger, cold, and want. He prevails on the swallow to use the rubies in his statue self and the gold covering it to help the poor to truly be "sans Souci." As the swallow reports, he

saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As the statue of the Happy Prince explains to his friend the swallow, he lived a very sheltered existence when he was alive, in a palace called Sans-Souci. In French, this means "worry-free," and indeed the Happy Prince goes on to state that he never knew what it was to be unhappy when he was living in this place, because sadness was not permitted to enter the palace. Instead, the Happy Prince spent his days playing with his companions and his evenings dancing with them, and the whole palace was encircled by a high wall which served to keep out everything that was beyond it. When he was alive, the Prince never questioned what the city might be like beyond the bounds of his sorrowless palace, but now that he is pitched far above it and can see how the poor people live, he is very much moved by their plight.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial