Edgar Allen Poe's "Hop Frog": the Transcendence of Frogs and Ourang-Ou

Topics: Edgar Allan Poe, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Ontology Pages: 4 (1360 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Edgar Allen Poe's "Hop Frog": The Transcendence Of Frogs and Ourang-Outangs

"Hop-Frog!, I will make a man of you."

In Edgar Allen Poe's short story "Hop Frog," the title character Hop- Frog is able to transcend the limitations of his physical body, in ways the King and his seven ministers are unable. "Hop-Frog" has multiple examples of the transcendence of man, and the inability of man to transcend. The most prominent of these points are:

1. By overcoming the limitations of his, Hop-Frog's, physical body
he is able to transcend into a greater existence than his biology would allow.
2. By the King and his ministers discounting of Hop-Frog due to his disfigurement and their inability to acknowledge his transcendence, they are fated to never have the chance to transcend.
3. By the use of symbolism in "Hop-Frog," Poe reinforces the actions of the characters and strengthens the representations of their transcendence, or lack there of.

Each of these of these three points coalesce to bring the significance of the transcendence of man, or the lack there of, into a focused view.

Hop-Frog, the title character in Edgar Allen Poe's "Hop-Frog," is able to transcend the limitations of his physical body. Biologically Hop-Frog is nothing more than a freak of nature. Hop-Frog is a dwarf. His means of locomotion was that of an "interjectional gait---- something between a leap and a wiggle,"(482) and this motion was only afforded to him through "great pain and difficulty." Hop-frog's teeth are "large, powerful, and repulsive."(484) His arms, not in balance with his body, have a "prodigious power."(482) His arms so over compensated for his body he "resembled a squirrel, or a small monkey, more than a frog."(482) His ability to tolerate wine is nonexistent. The story states that Hop-Frog is from "some barbarous region."(482) For the King, Hop-Frog is a "triplicate treasure"(482) for the king to laugh at. If a man is no greater than...

Cited: Hall, Donald, and Stephen Spendler. Concise Encyclopedia of English and
American Poets and Poetry. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1963. 1084-1092.
Hart, James D. Oxford Companion to American Literature. 5TH Ed. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1983. 323-336.
Poe, Edgar Allen. "Hop Frog". The Bedford Introduction To Literature Ed.
Michael Meyer. 3RD Ed. Boston: St. Martin 's Press, 1996. 481-487.
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