Video appunto: Wilde, Oscar -The Happy Prince
Wilde - The Happy Prince
“The happy prince”, it’s the story of a statue of a prince who had lived closed in a palace and he has never known suffering, until he becomes a monument he finds himself a participant in all human pain, from fame to public pillory, from luxurious life to decline.
The same prince, like a monument, says:
“And now that I am dead they have put me up here, so high, that I can see all the ugliness and misery of my city. And although my heart is made of lead, I can't help but cry. "
The city where the story is set could be any city, at any time. It is almost winter and a swallow arrives in this place but she have to go in Egypt, to escape the cold winter.
The swallow to spend the night, decide to take shelter under the golden statue of the prince.
They start to talk and they introduce themselves: the swallow talks about her life and the prince tells that he thought he was happy, because he lived in riches of his palace without knowing the suffering of his people and only now he sees so much pain around him.
The prince convinces the swallow to stay one night, to bring the ruby that set his sword to a poor mother who could not feed her son.
So the swallow pleases him but she has to go before it starts snowing.
But the next night, the prince convinces again the animal not to leave and bring one of the sapphires that were his eyes, to a young man who was cold and hungry.
The next night the same thing is repeated with the other sapphire, and the little swallow decides not to leave anymore, because without the sapphires that were the prince’s eyes, he was blind.
The swallow is now his eyes and tells him about what’s happen an all the misery which she sees in the street.
The prince and the swallow are outlined as human beings, they have feelings, they fall in love, they suffer, they help people, while men are blind, not in sight, but in heart. They didn’t see the sacrifice od the prince and the swallow (the only thing that really interests them is to be immortalized in a sculpture only for their vanity and not for real merits.
With the arrival of the snow, the Prince, now stripped of his ornaments, in nothing more than a statue of lead, and begs the swallow to migrate to Egypt, but she who feels near death from the great cold endured remains still next to his friend, she leans one last time on his shoulder and falls to the ground lifeless. A moment later, in pain, the Prince’s heart brakes.
The next day, the Mayor sees that the statue is all bare and gray, so he decides to melt it and build with the same metal another sculpture with his own image. And, looking with disdain at the dead bird on the ground, he orders them to be thrown into the garbage. But the prince's leaden heart does not melt and is thrown along with the body of the swallow.
One day God asks an angel to bring him the two most precious things in the city. Soon the angel brings him the leaden heart of the Prince and the little body of the little swallow, and God praises him for his choice.
I like this book because it is not only a simple fairy tale but it shows be a fairy tale for adults, ironic, with a subtle social criticism, the condemnation of human selfishness and appearances.
Oscar Wilde highlights the sacrifice to help others, a more human animal than men themselves, Wilde brings out the animals, or inanimate objects, such as the statue of the prince, that men in flesh and blood, engaged to look only at the materiality of things, without trying to discover their most hidden and sincere meaning.
"The Happy Prince" is a fairy tale but it has a moral like in the most beautiful fairy tales, true happiness is to make others happy, altruism and honesty are always rewarded.
The work done by the swallow and the generosity of the prince are a kind of rebellion against social injustices which, however, cannot recover, still remains the message of love and altruism that the man of any society and social class should never lose.
Within this book there are many fairy tales and all of these have multiple references to faith, its principles, the topics covered are important, such as friendship, love and respect for others; the underlying morals are incisive and Wilde wanted to teach his children, and readers, to "live in a more altruistic and empathic way".