Literature & Life

The Significance of Inner Beauty in the Model Millionaire by Oscar Wilde

The world has always been impressed by the glamour… and a very few people care about the INNER BEAUTY…! It would be apt to say that the BEAUTY LIES IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER. We find similar kind of theme in the short story THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE by OSCAR WILDE. The writer tries to show the true face of the contemporary world (which has not changed a bit even today). At the beginning of the story, he says, that there is no value of beauty unless you are wealthy. The poor should be unimaginative and mundane and should not dream of having a romantic relationship with a rich girl. Even your inner beauty fails in front of the charm of the money and this is the greatest truth of the modern life.

THE MODEL MILLIONAIRE is a story of a young man called Hughie Erskine who was a charming fellow but unfortunately, he didn’t possess any wealth; nor he was successful to earn money. He tried his best to earn money but he failed at every profession, and to make the matters worse: he fell in love with the beautiful daughter of a retired Colonel; and her name was Laura Merton. They were madly in love with each other. Even the Colonel liked Hughie very much. But he wouldn’t give permission for their engagement or marriage. The Colonel expected Hughie to have wealth of 10,000 pounds of his own. Only then he would allow them to marry each other. Due to this condition Hughie was always worried, confused and didn’t know what to do.

One day he went to visit his friend Alan Trevor who was a painter and he was a real master in his art. When Hughie entered his studio, he (Trevor) was putting finishing touches to a wonderful life size painting of a beggar and he had an actual beggar as a model for that. The beggar was standing in a corner of the studio. He was an old man and was in a miserable condition. His face was wrinkled, clothes were torn and boots were patched and cobbled. Hughie feels sorry to see his condition. So, he asks Trevor that how much the beggar is paid for sitting as a model. Trevor replies that he gets a Shilling for an hour. Hughie further asks that how much Trevor gets for his painting…? Trevor replies that he gets 2000 Guineas for his painting. Hughie feels bad to hear this. Suddenly, Trevor goes to talk to the frame maker.  Hughie feels pity for that old beggar so, he takes out all the money from his pocket and gives a sovereign into the beggar’s hand. The old man gets very happy and says, “Thank you sir!” and then he (Hughie) leaves.

Same night at 11 o’clock, Hughie goes to a club where he finds Trevor who tells him that the old beggar was asking too many questions about him. So, he (Trevor) told everything to the old man about Hughie, his love affair and the condition put by the Colonel for his marriage with Laura. Hughie gets very angry to know that his friend has disclosed his personal matter in front of a beggar but Trevor tells him that the old man was not a beggar. He was actually one of the richest men in Europe and he was also the Baron Hausberg. Hughie feels very ashamed to offer him a sovereign. So, he returns his home.

Next morning a man arrives at the door step of Hughie and says that he has come from Baron Hausberg and the Baron has ordered him to deliver a letter to Hughie. Hughie takes the sealed envelope. On the outside of the envelope was written, “A Wedding Present to Hugh Erskine and Laura Merton, from an Old Beggar.” When Hughie opens the envelope, he finds a cheque for 10000 Pounds inside it. So, this way the old man shows his courtesy to a fine hearted young man and proves himself to be a Model (Role model) Millionaire and even makes his presence to Hughie’s wedding.

Finally, the moral of the story is that the looks can be deceptive. Therefore, we should only focus on the inner beauty of the people. Then only we will be able to recognise real beauty of the people.

J.G. More

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