The Happy Prince begins his life as a naïve prince who enjoys the spoils of the upper-class society and never sets foot outside the palace walls. After he dies the town turns him into a statue and he is placed on the wall of the palace where he sees the hardships the lower classes go through daily just to survive. His heart hurts for the people and he weeps for them. When Swallow comes to him, he sees an opportunity to change things and begs Swallow to help him give his riches to the people. His big heart and compassion grow as he sees more people suffering. He gives everything he has to the poor people in his town with Swallow's help. The Happy Prince is truly happy in his soul that he has the opportunity to spread his wealth. However, Swallow dies at the end of the story and the Happy Prince's heart breaks. He is taken to heaven because of his good deeds, illustrating that God cares about good deeds and a pure heart.
Swallow is a carefree bird that thinks of his own happiness before anything else. He falls in and out of love quickly and moves quickly as well. He is headed to Egypt when he finds the Happy Prince statue. He works with the Happy Prince because he sees how much it means to the Happy Prince to help others. Swallow's heart for the people and the Happy Prince grows throughout the story as he distributes the wealth to those suffering in the town. His heart becomes more giving and pure, to the point that he chooses to help even though he will die of cold. His character starts out as selfish, but he becomes a loyal and pure-hearted companion for the Happy Prince. He also receives his glory in heaven.