Characters

In the novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry we find both complex characters as well as one-dimensional ones. The characterizations presented here contribute to a better understanding of their behavior. 

We examine the characters in detail. We look at the motivations of the little prince and the pilot, as well as at the traits of the less complex characters, such as the inhabitants of the other planets (the king, the conceited man, the tippler, the businessman, the lamplighter, and the geographer). 

We also focus on the rose who means so much to the little prince and the fox who teaches him a valuable lesson. We also explain the character of the snake

The traits, behavior, and meaning of the characters are presented in an easy-to-understand style. In the characterizations, it is made clear which functions the individual characters fulfill in the story and their relationship to the Little Prince. With the help of our careful analysis of the characters, conclusions can be drawn about the themes and motifs of the novella.

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

The origins of the little prince

The little prince is the title character of the novella The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry probably comes from asteroid B 612, where he lives together with three volcanoes and a rose. He is small and has golden hair and a sunny yellow scarf. He is delicate and fragile. The pilot describes him as a "most extraordinary small person" (3%) and as "charming" (3%).

On his planet, the little prince spends his time cleaning his volcanoes, uprooting the sprouts of the baobabs and taking care of his rose, which one day took root on his planet. Here we see how disciplined and careful the little prince is about taking care of his home.

When he is sad, the little prince watches a sunset. Since his planet is so small, he only needs to move his chair a little further to be able to see a sunset. In his passion for sunsets, he shows feelings of sadness and longing.

The little prince is impressed by the beauty of the rose. The rose is aware of her beauty and oppresses the little prince with her vanity and her sensitivity.

The little prince takes touching care of his flower. He waters it, puts up a screen during the day to protect it from drafts, and a glass bell at night to protect it from the cold, but the rose cannot be satisfied and torments him with her arrogance. The little prince does not understand what is happening because he is so young. He is depressed and finally wants to leave his planet. Here we see that the little prince is vulnerable.

The journey

On his journey, the little prince stops on several planets and meets some strange grown-ups who all live lonely lives on their planets.

On the first one lives a king who considers the little prince a subject. The king gives the little prince orders to carry out. But the little prince doesn't understand the meaning behind it, because when he asks him to command a sunset, the king replies that he can only do so when the circumstances are suitable. That is, he "commands" a sunset only when the sun would set anyway.

The little prince sees through the king's ruling strategy and begins to get bored, realizing that he cannot learn anything from the king. He wants to leave, but the king tries to persuade him to stay with the post of minister of justice.

According to the king, the little prince should judge a rat, which he could now and then condemn to death and then pardon again, since there is only one rat on the planet. The little prince refuses, because he does not want to judge others. At the king's suggestion that he should judge himself instead, the little prince says that he does not have to stay on the planet to do so.

The little prince understands that the king's power is an illusion and goes his own way, leaving the planet . After his visit to the king, the little prince thinks the grown-ups are very strange.

On the second planet, the little prince meets a conceited man who asks him to clap at him. The little prince does him this favor, even though he can't understand the meaning behind it. The conceited man wants to be the most beautiful and intelligent on his planet, although he inhabits it alone. The little prince leaves the planet of the conceited man with the statement that the grown-ups are very odd.

On the third planet, the little prince encounters a tippler who drinks to forget that he is ashamed of the fact that he drinks. The little prince is upset by the tippler's hopelessness and leaves him when he realizes that he cannot help him.

On the fourth planet lives a businessman who keeps insisting that he is a serious man and thinks he owns the stars. The little prince tries to explain to him that he is of no use to the stars. He tells him about his rose, which he waters and protects, and about his volcanoes, which he sweeps. The businessman does not know how to react to his words.

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