Themes and message


Self-sacrifice and kindness

The main theme of the short story “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde is self-sacrifice and kindness. The story can be read as an allegory with a message that promotes charity. Even if good deeds may not always be rewarded, the happiness which comes with performing a good deed soon becomes a reward in itself. For instance, when the Swallow has performed his first task of bringing the ruby to the sick boy, he feels “quite warm now, although it is so cold”. The Happy Prince answers that it is because he has done something good. This suggests that good deeds are a reward in themselves. Another reward for the gift is the knowledge that the people they have helped are thriving: “the children’s faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street”.

The Swallow is the one who ultima...

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