Princess Flavia is a character from the novel entitled The Prisoner of Zenda, written by Anthony Hope. She is the only female character who is not directly involved in the conspiracies, which pervade the entire atmosphere of the novel. She is the cousin and fiancée of King Rudolf Elphberg and is the immediate inheritor to the throne. She bears a bewitching personality and fascinates the readers by the elegant attitude.
Her appearance can be perceived by Rudolf Rassendyll’s saying:
“A girl pale and lovely, surmounted by a crown of glorious Elphberg hair.”
Beautiful Aspects of her Role
Princess Flavia is a young, captivating and decent lady. She possesses a character full of virtues and commands great respect and admiration among the people of Ruritania. They wish to see her as the future queen of the country. She is a noble and kind-hearted woman.
“Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Soberness and Intelligence
Princess Flavia is a wise woman. Her wisdom keeps her aware of the evil desires of Black Michael, who is not a good man. She very intelligently keeps herself away from all sorts of intrigues. She is a sensible person who has the courage to face the realities of life.
Her intelligence is enlightened when she said to Rassendyll:
“Do be careful,” she went on, “you don’t – indeed you don’t – keep enough watch on him.”
Princess Flavia is a lady with elements of love in her heart. These elements increase the fascination and temptation in her character. She sincerely and quite confidently admits her inclination towards Rassendyll, being impressed by his personality. She was bold enough to propose Rassendyll but her sensibility restricted her to perform any action below dignity. She gave heart and soul to Rudolf Rassendyll considering him to be the real king. She never mourns her decision even after coming to know that he is a pretender. She confessed that Rudolf Rassendyll was acceptable to him even if he was a beggar.
“The fate of love is that it always seems too little or too much.”
- Amelia Barr
The princess was a sincere and devoted lady, always worried about the security of Rassendyll. She advised him time and again to be cautious of the wicked plans of Duke Michael. When Black Michael was successful in injuring Rassendyll, she at once reached Zenda to look after him. This action reflects her sense of responsibility and devotion towards the man whom she loved from the depths of her heart.
She said to Rassendyll:
“Oh, if you were not the king, then I could show you how I love you.”
Duty and Patriotism
Princess Flavia is a responsible lady. She very loyal to her country and knows the difference between love and duty. She sets an example of the greatest sacrifice by giving up her love at the altar of duty. This aspect of her character shows that she is not the slave of her passions.
Here sense of duty is enlightened when she says to Rassendyll:
“Your ring will always be on my finger, your heart in my heart. But you must go and I must stay.”
The Great Sacrifice
In order to maintain peace in Ruritania and not to disgrace the royal family, Princess Flavia took a sensible and daring step. She sacrificed her love for the sake of her homeland and parted with Rassendyll forever. It was a noble and graceful decision in the interest of Ruritania and the Royal family.
“There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice.”
– Nadine Gordimer
Princess Flavia proves to be not only the leading female character of the novel but also the most lively and integral personality. She holds the attentions of the readers because of her charm, duty and incredible virtues. She respected the wishes of the people and the country and gave up her love for the sake of her country. She is a complete symbol of love, beauty and sacrifice, which makes her an admirable character.
To love one person with a private love is poor and miserable, to love all is glorious.”
- Thomas Traherne