The Happy Prince Analysis by Oscar Wilde

Symbolism

The dead statue and lead heart are symbol of lifeless appearance. However, looks can be deceiving and we find the Prince more compassionate than  he was ever as living ruler.

Reed is used as symbol of fleeting pleasures of material beauty. There is mention of foreign and exotic places like Egypt which are held as symbols of mythical beauty and romance. Children are used as symbols of purity, intelligence and incorruptible beauty.

Officials and politicians have used a symbol of corruption and greed while God is described as merciful and benevolent.

Setting

The Happy Prince is a story set in a city with Victorian moral values. It has a ruling kingship and dependent subjects. There is rampant inequality that is highlighted by the difference in residence and resources between the rich and the poor. There is also mention of Egypt and other places to add details to the setting.

Moral Lesson

The moral lesson of the story is to value the true beauty of people. It celebrates the virtues of piety, compassion, and charity. It also decries the greed and materialistic fetish of some who do not care for the rest of humanity especially the poor and needy. The story claims that in the end, good will triumph over ugly and bad at the final and divine judgment.