You are on page 1of 1


The short story I am going to analyze is “The Happy Prince” written by

Oscar Wilde, one of the most prominent Anglo-Irish writers, who lived in the
second half of the 19th century. The plot of the above-mentioned short story is
built in the style of fairy tales which typically have simple and direct plots. So as
the plot develops, we learn that a little swallow (after a first unhappy love) falls in
love with the statue of the Happy Prince who is extremely unhappy because of all
the injustices and miseries of his city. After meeting the swallow, the Happy Prince
becomes a little bit happier; this happens because the swallow helps the Happy
Prince to save some poor people. Consequently, the main themes of this fairy tale
are love and compassion. As for the tone of this tale, it should be emphasized that
it is childish, melancholic and even dramatic.

Concerning the structure, this can be divided into three parts. The first one is
the introduction which begins with the description of the beautiful appearance of
the Happy Prince and lasts until the swallow appears. In the main part, it is told
how the Happy Prince, together with the Swallow, helps the poor who are going
through hard times by giving them precious pieces from the statue of the Happy
Prince, which was made of fine gold, sapphires and a ruby. The climax of this fairy
tale is when the swallow dies after kissing the Happy Prince, and the Happy Prince
is thrown away on a dust heap because he is no longer beautiful and useful. In the
last part, the conclusion, the author describes how God chooses the leaden heart
and the dead bird as the most precious things of the city, and they are taken to

As for the characters of this tale, it should be pointed out that there are two
principal characters – the Happy Prince and the swallow. Besides, there are several
supporting characters which are essential to the development of the fairy tale: a
poor seamstress with her child, a young writer, a young poor girl, the Mayor and
the Town Councillors. According to what we are told, the action seems to take
place in an European town, in the north of Europe, since the swallow says that the
climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. Finally, it is important to mention
that this fairy tale is close to a poem since its language is very poetic, grammar is
not difficult and language is rich.

By Mariia Zhigmitova, Sept. 2013