English 11 CP – 5
The Conmen’s Game
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.” In essence, true character is skin deep and based on an individual’s actions. In the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, the Duke and the King are two flat characters that have a one track mind based on bad intentions. To begin, the duke and the king are a pair of conmen that are running from a mob of people that they have swindled. They encounter the protagonist, Huck Finn, and are carried away on a raft. The Duke and the King are the drollest people in the novel, the most despicable and the most fraudulent. Firstly, the two conmen tell lies and fibs for their own benefit. For example, as soon as the two men meet Huck Finn and Jim on their raft on the Mississippi they lie about their names, the Duke says, “I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, forlorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the cold world, ragged, worn, heart-broken, and degraded to the companionship of felons on a raft” (124). Likewise the king says, “Yes, gentlemen, you see before you, in blue jeans and misery, the wanderin’, exiled, trampled-on, and sufferin’ rightful King of France” (125). The conmen are using fake names to make their reputation look good. First of all, conmen are infamously known for adopting multiple aliases. Secondly, it is unknown if these two men are, in fact, descendants from such prestigious families. In addition, men born with such titles should be civilized and educated, following a path to greater success not a path leading to swindling in the southern states. If some things sound too-good-to-be-true, then they probably are. Equally important, as the religious revival meeting is happening in the woods, Huck explains about the Duke, “He told them he was a pirate – been a pirate for thirty years, out in the Indian Ocean,...
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