The Mesmerizer

Topics: Performance, Mark Twain, Audience Pages: 2 (637 words) Published: October 30, 2008
The essay “The Mesmerizer” by Mark Twain is a story about a young yet mature boy who encounters an opportunity to get noticed. This all happens when Simmons, the hypnotist, comes to his town named Hannibal. At first the mesmerizer seems just like your “average” hypnotist, enchanting and intriguing. But the real question is ,” Is this really an act?”. When Twain takes the stage he instantly begins playing along and then realizes that Simmons is a fraud just like himself. The townspeople have no clue though and still remain fascinated with every stunt, skit, and performance on the stage. The truth is that they are all just actors in the story and in reality. The mesmerizer is just doing his job moving from town to town earning his living. At the same time Twain is a con receiving attention from the crowd. And last but certainly not the least; the audience is the townspeople, who all know that it is quite a performance indeed!

The hypnotist shows that the whole act was actually just for entertainment purposes. First off he is getting paid by the people of Hannibal and makes it seem like this is shown in the excerpt, “He advertised his show and promised marvels. Admission as usual: 25 cents, children and negroes half price”. If it wasn’t an act then he wouldn’t be putting a price on admission and providing advertisements. “There was a storm of applause, and the magician, addressing the house, said, most impressively, “That you may know how really remarkable this is, and how wonderfully developed a subject we have in this boy, I assure you that without a single spoken word to guide him he has carried out what I mentally commanded him to do; to the minutest detail.” In this quotation there is evidence that he was just initiating his next line off of Twain’s reaction.

Twain on the other hand was involved as well. His pompous attitude toward the whole situation proves that he was in it for the attention. When Twain says,...
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