Even though the snake the little prince encounters in
the desert speaks in riddles, he demands less interpretation than
the other symbolic figures in the novel. The snake also has less
to learn than many of the other characters. The grown-ups on the
various planets are too narrow-minded for their own good, and the
prince and the narrator edge closer to enlightenment, but the serpent
does not require answers or even ask questions. In fact, the snake
is so confident he has mastered life’s mysteries that he tells the
prince he speaks only in riddles because he can solve all riddles.
In a story about mysteries, the snake is the only absolute. His
poisonous bite and biblical allusion indicate that he represents
the unavoidable phenomenon of death.