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Hop Frog: Analysis of Characterization

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In Edgar Allen Poe’s 1849 short story, Hop Frog, the main character is a crippled dwarf that is forced to be a court jester under the king’s rule and later attains his revenge by killing him. Poe uses great characterization throughout the story to not only help the reader relate to Hop Frog, but to also show justice in his horrifying actions. He characterizes Hop Frog, Trippetta, and the king and his ministers in a way that allows readers to empathize with the story’s ending. When Poe characterizes Hop Frog, readers cannot help but feel sad for him. Not only was he a dwarf, but a crippled one at that. “…through the distortion of his legs, could he move with only great pain or difficulty along a road or floor…” Even with his trouble, he was still forced to be a court jester. “…Hop Frog could only get along by a sort of interjectional gait – something between a leap and a wriggle – a movement that afforded illimitable amusement…” Knowing that he had to endure the agony with every move he made in order to please the king and his ministers gives readers reason for siding with Hop Frog.

Trippetta, Hop Frogs “sworn friend” is characterized slightly differently. Although she is a dwarf like Hop Frog, she is adored much more by the king and his ministers. Poe characterizes her as being “graceful” and having “exquisite beauty,” which surprisingly does not go to her head. Her adoration from the king and the ministers allowed her to possess “…much influence; and never failed to use it, whenever she could, for the benefit of Hop Frog.” Her actions allow readers to see her fondness towards Hop Frog and how one would do anything for the other. Poe uses characterization to help readers bond with Hop Frog and Trippetta, however, it is completely opposite when it comes to characterization of the king and his seven ministers. They are described as being “…large, corpulent, oily men.” He uses this to emphasize how indulged these men are with their royal lifestyles. The king and the ministers also find humor in forcing Hop Frog to drink, a past time that Hop Frog despises. However, when he denied the drink, “The king grew purple with rage. The courtiers smirked.” His outburst shows reader what a tyrant the king is and how rude his seven ministers are.

In Poe’s 1849 story, Hop Frog, his use of characterization in Hop Frog, Trippetta, and the king and his ministers allows readers to justify Hop Frog’s horrific actions. Although he was tormented as court jester, he later obtained his revenge on those who made hell of his already difficult life. Thus, permitting readers to understand and accept the story’s end.

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