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The Wicked Prince – Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Anderson wrote the short story "The Wicked Prince." It tells the story of a prince whose heart and mind was set on ruling the world. He accomplished this by conquering other nations with his army and annihilating them with fire and swords. The devastation caused by this evil prince and his army was unbelievable, and it made people fear him greatly. He grew in strength and prosperity as a result of conquered lands, to the point that no one on the planet could match him (Andersen, 2011). He built up magnificent palaces, churches, and halls and all who saw these buildings and his massive treasures were filled with awe and admiration, proclaiming how mighty the prince was. The people were unaware of the endless misery he had caused to the countries he had conquered. The prince himself too was delighted by his achievements and awed at his might, but still, his thirst for more power was insatiable.

Determined to be the most powerful man on earth, he attacked his neighbors defeating all of them. He made a spectacle of the conquered kings, parading them on the streets and making them kneel before him and his courtiers and feeding them leftovers. He then had a statue of himself erected in public places and on the royal palaces. He even wanted it placed in churches at the altar to which the priests declined, telling him however mighty he was, God’s power was higher than his. It is at this declaration by the priests that the prince launched an operation to fight and conquer God. He ordered the construction of a ship that would carry him during his expedition, fitted with thousands of bullets and sets for the battle up in the sky. He encounters an angel of God sent to counter him, and the prince showers him with thousands of bullets, but instead, they rebounded and fell like hailstones. The angel drags him and his ship back to the earth, but he continues in his haughtiness about conquering God.

The prince set up for a second attempt at fighting God, dedicating seven years into preparation, constructing ships that would sail through the air, which had darts to break the walls of heaven. He also gathered many warriors from all over the countries. These soldiers entered the ships ready for the journey, but before the Prince could get into his, God sent a swarm of gnats that attacked him, stinging him on the hands and face. His sword could not kill them, and he ordered a covering for himself that would bar the gnats from hurting him. Unfortunately one of the gnats hid under the covers. It crept on his ear, stinging him and introducing its poison into his blood. Overcome with pain, the Prince tore his coverings and clothes in front of his soldiers who now mocked him for his attempt to wage war against God but was overcome by a single gnat. And that is how the wicked prince died.

The influential nature of God is demonstrated in this story. This influence is first depicted when the prince wishes that his statue be placed at the altar in churches, and the priests decline to his request. They remind him that even with the might he had acquired, God’s power was greater than his and they would not obey the Prince’s order at the expense of God’s (Andersen, 2011). This response shows the recognition that God receives among people that they would opt to refute a king’s orders to uphold God’s. Another instance is when God sends a single angel to counter the Prince with his thousands of bullets. The bullets would instead rebind and fall as ordinary hailstones. God’s influence causes turmoil for the Prince, and he is dragged back on earth, though God does not kill him yet. This instance shows God’s overall control of nature and all occurrences. His influence is also manifested when he sends a swarm of gnats to distract the Prince from his haughty mission and eventually causing a single gnat to end his life (Andersen, 2011). This occurrence is to show that God has control over creatures and can use the smallest of them to silence a proud person like the Prince.

The role of religion and the influence it has in the present-day period cannot be understated. Religion has a variety of roles that it should perform to God and humanity. Although it has embraced a lot of changes in the 21st-century, religion still holds an influential position in the society (Pollack and Daniel, 2012). Among the roles of religion is to shape the culture of the people practicing it. This role includes influencing their social interactions with each other, forming their communication with God, as well as their view on general issues such as politics. Religion is also responsible for shaping the morality of the society as well as teaching the people on the supernaturalism of God as their deity. In the present period, religion has been distorted with many infiltrations and adoption of a new culture that was not found in the traditional form of religion (Pollack and Daniel, 2012). For instance, the adoption of same-sex marriages in churches. Despite these infiltrations, religion still carries the mantle for shaping societal culture.

Atheism is the unbelief of the existence of God or a deity. In other words, it is the failure to recognize God and the supernatural powers vested in Him. Atheists tend to uphold secular philosophies such as naturalism. The Prince in the story can be said to be exercising atheism. This practice is seen through his actions which portray a lack of belief in a god. The inhumanity he conducts in his quest for power is irrefutable evidence. His soldiers invade other countries, killing innocent people including children and burning their homes; actions that the Prince approves. The Prince believed that this was right and took it as the natural course which things ought to take. His atheism is openly manifested when he wages war against God, swearing to defeat Him. In the mind of a religious person this was stupid and vanity but to him as an atheist, this could be achieved. He took God to be like one of the kings he had conquered. However, his atheism is overcome by the manifestation of the presence of God who controls nature and all creations, and the Prince ends up dead.

In summary, The Wicked Prince is a story that not only entertains but also gives a broader perspective of power, religion, and atheism. The Prince had overwhelming power but could not contain himself from wanting more to the extent of challenging God to a fight. His lack of respect for religion and his atheism practices led to his death.

Works Cited

Andersen, Hans Christian. Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen. University of Washington Press, 2011.

Pollack, Detlef, and Daniel VA Olson, eds. The role of religion in modern societies. Routledge, 2012.

September 01, 2021

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