Huck Finn's The Duke And The King Essay

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Huck Finn’s the Duke and the King: Injustice, Immorality, Ignorance In Chapter 19 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain introduces the duke and the king, who are rescued by Huck and Jim on the raft. Though the pair of “noblemen” initially seem to be merely a source of humor in and even inconsequential characters, their malicious intentions and immorality are quickly revealed through their schemes to manipulate people they encounter in order to purloin their money. The men serve in the novel as a reminder to Huck and Jim of the constant presence of white society and its injustice that pursues even in the middle of the Mississippi River; as white adult males, the duke and the king exploit Huck and Jim’s status to carry out their schemes. Furthermore, Huck’s sense of morality develops as he realizes what these two characters are doing to the people that they meet along the journey South, and the schemes he witnesses become more and more disreputable until he feels that he must act. Despite the deceitful behavior exhibited by the duke and the king, it is at times difficult to feel compassion for the victims of their plots because of their sheer naiveté and gullibility. With this, Twain means to make a mockery of antebellum Southern white society; members of this group during the years before the Civil War asserted their superiority to other communities (such as the African-American one), and yet they fail to see when they are being taken advantage of. The dishonest intentions of the duke and the king are evident as soon as Huck lets them aboard the raft. Despite their tattered clothing—“an old battered-up slouch hat on and a greasy blue woolen shirt, tops, and home-knit galluses” (117)—the men claim to be royalty. The duke appeals to Huck and Jim’s emotions, immediately persuading them to act as his subordinates: “So Jim and me set to

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