The Happy Prince
Q.1. Why was the Happy Prince weeping? (P.U.95-S/95
Or What is meant by the palace Sans Souci PU. 2000
Or The prince was called happy Prince but he did not consider himself happy. Why?
Or Give a brief account of the life lived by the Happy Prince when he was alive. What made him weep after death?
Or What kind of happiness did Prince enjoy when he was alive.
Or Why was the prince happy when he was alive and had a human heart?
What made him weep despite having a heart of lead?
Or Discuss the title of the story. OR Was the Prince really Happy?
The title of the story “The Happy Prince” is ironic. He was called happy Prince but he did not consider himself happy. He was happy when he lived in his beautiful palace, situated in a grand garden, surrounded by a tall wall. When he was alive, he played all day and danced in the evenings with his companions. He spent his life luxuriously in his palace of Sans Souci. During his lifetime he did not get the opportunity to see the sufferings of the people due to the high walls of his palace. He was also not allowed to have any contact with the outside world. This kept him unaware of the miserable plight of the masses living outside the palace in the city. He did not weep during his life instead of having human heart. But after death, when his statue was erected on a high column in the centre of the city, everything was visible to him. He saw the miserable condition of the people. He became unhappy to see the misery and agony of people. He could do nothing then to alleviate their misery. He saw the sick son of a poor seamstress, a starving playwright and a little girl weeping after losing her match. These woeful scenes brought tears into his eyes despite having a heart of lead. 223
- 2. Discuss the role of the Swallow?
Or What did the Swallow do for the Happy Prince?
Or How did the Prince alleviate the misery of the poor?
Or Describe the scenes of misery and ugliness
The Swallow is an important character in the story. He acts as an agent of the Prince. In autumn all of his companions had flown to Egypt in search of warm climate. But he, in love with a reed did not go. He requested his sweetheart reed to accompany him to Egypt. On reed’s refusal he all alone set out for Egypt and stayed for one night in winter under the Prince’s statue.
While resting there a drop of Prince’s tears fell upon him. The Swallow asked the Prince why he wept. He replied that he wept over the misery of the people. The Swallow stayed for two more nights to help him in alleviating the suffering of the people.
When he saw the sick son of a poor seamstress in need of oranges, he asked the Swallow to take a ruby from his sword to her, so that she might buy oranges for her son. Then he asked the Swallow to give a pearl from his eye to a hungry playwright. Again he asked the Swallow to give the pearl of his other eye to a little girl who was weeping because her match had fallen into a gutter and she had no money to buy new one. When the Swallow reported to the Prince about the general suffering of the poor in the town he asked him to tear all the gold from his body and distribute it among the poor. The Swallow picked all the gold from his statue till it turned dull and grey. 258
- 3. Describe the sacrifice of the Happy Prince for his people and
the sacrifice of the Swallow for the Prince.
Or How were they rewarded for these sacrifices? What is the moral of the story?
The Happy Prince and the Swallow both made remarkable sacrifices and were rewarded for the same. The Prince sacrificed every precious thing of his statue: rubies, diamonds, gold and even his eyes for the suffering masses.
When he saw the sick son of a poor seamstress in need of oranges, he asked the Swallow to take a ruby from his sword to her, so that she might buy oranges for her son. Then he asked the Swallow to give a pearl from his eye to a hungry playwright. Again he asked the Swallow to give the pearl of his other eye to a little girl who was weeping because her match had fallen into a gutter and she had no money to buy new one. When the Swallow reported to the Prince about the general suffering of the poor in the town he asked him to tear all the gold from his body and distribute it among the poor. The Swallow picked all the gold from his statue till it turned dull and grey.
The Swallow fell in love with him. He decided not to fly to Egypt and stayed there. He kissed the Prince’s lips and fell dead at his feet. Thus the Swallow sacrificed his life for the Prince. One day God ordered an angel to bring two precious things to Him. The angel brought the Prince’s leaden heart and the dead Swallow. Thus both got spiritual salvation.
The story bears the moral that those who love their fellow beings are loved by God. Love and sacrifice both are redeeming forces. 263
- 4. Discuss the story as a “fantasy.” OR How does the writer “mirror modern life in a form remote from reality?”
A fantasy is an unreal and imaginary story with a moral lesson. “The Happy Prince” is really an unreal and imaginary story as events narrated in the story do not happen in real life. The statue of the Prince and the Swallow talk to each other. They feel and think like human beings which is unreal. How can an inanimate statue see the suffering people and feel sympathy for them? How can it ask a Swallow to tear pearls and gold from its body, and distribute among the poor? Then how can a bird fall in love with a statue? All these incidents can’t happen in real life. Hence it is a fantasy to teach the moral lesson that the rich should feel for the poor and help them in misery. It is a romantic story where the statue and the Swallow speak, think and feel like human beings. A fantasy is remote from reality. The writer, therefore, discusses the poverty and misery of the Victorian age in a form remote from reality or in a fairy tale form. 179
Q.5. “The story brings in all the problems of the Victorian age poverty, hypocrisy, and exploitation.” Discuss.
The Victorian age had many problems as poverty, hypocrisy and exploitation. The suffering masses led a life of misery and pain as narrated in the story. These descriptions of a poor seamstress, a starving dramatist and a little girl weeping to buy a new match: are the “glaring examples of poverty. The poor were being exploited by the rich who lived in palaces and grand buildings. As long as the Prince lived, he had no contact with the suffering masses as he lived in a palace surrounded by a huge wall. He was happy as he led a life of luxury. He played all day and danced in the evenings. The entire society was based on hypocrisy. It was presumed that the people beyond the walls of the palace were living happily. But, on the other hand, they led a miserable life. Most of them were starving. Greed and lust were the order of the day. When the statue looked dull and grey after all the gold over it had been torn off, the Mayor and Councilors wished to erase the statue and got their own statues erected in that place. The huge amount spent on the erection of statues could be used to help the poor, but they preferred the statues to immortalize their name. That was hypocrisy. 221
Q.6. Towards the end of the story the mayor calls happy prince little beggar than a beggar why? 2007
The happy prince is a story that not only gives us a moral lesson and that is to help the poor and the needy but also reveals some of our moral lapses. The whole story is full of satirical elements. The writer has tries to satrize different people for their deficiencies. One of them is lust for reputation. At the end of the story when the mayor come where the statue of the happy prince is fixed. He is surprised that the happy prince is no more beautiful. All of his gold leaves had been pulled and he looks very drab Here the mayor says that the happy prince is little better than a beggar. He says this because he wants that his own statue should be now fixed in place of the happy prince. Now here the writer wants to criticize human beings’ lust for reputation. When the councilors begin to fight and every one of them says that his own statue should be fixed there, the writer is totally justified in his satire. When the prince was alive and had gold all over his body every one likes him including the mayor who pretends of having an artistic taste. Actually he is not so but only pretends. And now when the prince looks drab the mayor says that he is little better than a beggar just to show that he is having an artistic taste.