Examples of Malice in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn through the Duke and Dauphin Characters
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, author Mark Twain portrays an American society in which characters have many motives and opportunities to redefine their lives and their identities, especially in relation to others. The novel also shows that self-reinvention can be difficult and dangerous not only for the individual but also the environment in which actions are performed. There are several characters in the book who take on other identities with the most identity changes occurring with the protagonist Huck Finn as he and Jim encounter others through their travels. Though Huck presents the most identity changes, it is noted that other characters have very significant changes to their identity, such as the duke and the dauphin. Their particular identity changes are significant due to the severity of the effects their actions have on their surroundings. The duke and the dauphin first appear in the book shortly after Huck’s disturbing stopover with the Grangerfords. As they travel down the Mississippi River, Huck Finn and his slave friend Jim find them on shore fleeing from some trouble. They practically beg Huck to be let on the raft so Huck begins to take them a mile downstream to safety. The book describes the duke to be around thirty years old who is fleeing to avoid the ire of the locals as he used to sell a paste that removed tartar from teeth but took off too much enamel. The dauphin is described to be an older man about 70 years old whom was fleeing after leading a temperance revival meeting where it was discovered he was a fraud because he drank. Here, it is evident that the two men are unsavory, fake people as they are professional con artists. In assessing the duke and the dauphin’s use of different identities, four examples are taken into account. The first example is noted in the initial interactions between Huck and Jim and the duke and the...
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