The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Analysis
The activities of the king and the duke show us as much about the victims of fraud as it does about the perpetrators. Discuss, making close reference to the text. Include a detailed discussion of one of these characters' scams.
Normally, if a story discusses a fraud, it emphasizes on either the vulnerability of the victims of the fraud or the cynicism of the perpetrators, but not both. However, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the discussion of the King and the Duke illustrates both the victims’ tendency to be tricked and the liars’ incredible confidence on their ability to trick, mainly because of Huck’s deep involvement with both sides. A scam that illustrates these two aspects the most would be the incident dealing with the Wilks brothers, where the King pretended to be Harvey Wilks, and the Duke William Wilks. From this particular scam we can see the cynics’ extreme trickery, the victims’ naive willingness to believe, and how the two sides actually “incorporate” with each other in this situation. This scam starts to form when the King and Huck were on the way down to Cincinnati, when they met a young fellow who told them about Peter Wilks, a man that had died the night before. The King had the forming as he “went on asking questions till he just fairly empties that young fellow” (172-173), according to Huck. And fair enough, when the young man is out of sight, the King told Huck to fetch the Duke so that he can tell the Duke the whole story. But what is surprising is the pair’s assurance that they won’t be discovered as fakes, because they don’t really know anything about the brothers except for what the King hears from the young fellow. When Huck secretly hears the pair’s conversation, it really gives the audience an insight on how the pair doesn’t even care a bit how the Wilks girls will get on after they’ve taken the money and sold the house, especially when the King says “what! And not sell out the...
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