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Hop-Frog

Edgar Allan Poe Presentation
by

Steph L

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Hop-Frog

Stephanie Labib Hop-Frog
or
The Eight Chained
Ourang-Outangs

By Edgar Allan Poe Summary Relevance to Poe’s Life Relevance to My Life King who has a voracious sense of humor
"He seemed to live only for joking”
This unnamed king has two court jesters
They are best friends: Hop Frog and Trippetta
Both dwarfs stolen from their homeland and used as slaves to the King
The King abuses Hop-Frog
Not only is he a dwarf, but also a cripple
He is named this way by the King because of a physical deformity that prevented him from walking upright Analysis Categorized as a revenge story
The murderer gets away without punishment for his evil actions
Poe often used teeth as a symbol of mortality
In this story, Hop-Frog grated his teeth, making an awful sound
He did this before and after he committed his crime
His teeth were acclaimed as “large, powerful, and repulsive”
“Hop-Frog” most likely represents Poe’s literal revenge on a personal enemy
This personal enemy, in real life, may have been a woman by the name of Elizabeth F. Ellet
She was thought to have spread gossip and rumors about Poe’s relationships with other women, like Sarah Helen Whitman and possibly Nancy Richmond, at a New York City literary group
The King himself might have been represented of Ellet
The seven councilors might have been seven other named individuals also in this circle
Hop-Frog versus the council members is analogous to Poe versus his critics This story, although bizarre, had many lessons that were beneficial and relevant to my life
It taught me the ultimate importance of transcending my fears and overcoming limitations that I either place on myself, or that others place on me
Another thing that touched me was the friendship of Hop-Frog and Trippetta
They remain with each other since their capture from their home country, and they stay with each other until the end of his crime
It is even implied that they cohesively organized the plot and appropriately decorated the room with the chain apparatus
They support each other – as Trippetta supported Hop-Frog’s endeavor and begged the king to stop making him drink alcohol, doing what Hop-Frog did, he stood up for her in his last jest as well
This is relevant to my life in that my close friends trust in me to stand up for them, as I depend on them in return Hop-Frog reacts severely to alcohol
The King knows this and purposely makes him drink
One night, in the presence of 7 council members, the King makes Hop-Frog drink multiple goblets of wine
Knowing this bothers Hop-Frog, Trippetta tries to stop the King
Angry, the King strikes Trippetta down and throws a wine goblet at her face
The men laugh
However, after they laugh, they hear an awful grating sound
No one knows where it is coming from After this, the unseemingly drunken Hop-Frog smiles and thinks of a game to play at the upcoming masquerade, hosted by the King
His idea is to dress the King and his seven council members in “Ourang-Outang” costumes and chain them all together
As to scare the guests
The men love the idea and agree to it
Hop-Frog chains the eight men in the costumes and brings them into the masquerade
Held in a circular grand saloon, with a sunroof in the center
As predicted, many of the guests are shocked
Some think they are real animals and they try to escape
The King, however, had ordered the doors to be locked
Hop-Frog has the key
Chaos erupted
Amid the chaos, Hop-Frog attaches the chain to a pulley from the ceiling
Earlier on in the story, it was told that the party was arranged “under Trippetta’s eye”
She and Hop-Frog had arranged and organized the party, and most likely came up with this contraption
Hop-Frog pulls the costumed men up to the ceiling, above the crowd of guests
He has great strength in his arms
After some time, the guests start to become more relaxed
They begin to conceive the incident as “well-contrived pleasantry” and they laugh, although they do not know who the costumed men are
Hop-Frog climbs up to the eight chained figures’ level
He puts on spectacles
He claims that it is easier to reveal their identities by taking a closer look at them
He also takes with him a torch, thrusting it at them
Still claiming to try and figure out their identities
Because the costumes were highly flammable, the group began to catch fire
As this happened, the awful grating noise was heard once again
This time, there was no doubt from where it was heard
It came from the “fang-like teeth of the dwarf, who ground them and gnashed them as he foamed at the mouth, and glared, with an expression of maniacal rage, into the upturned countenances of the king and his seven companions.” Hop-Frog finally reveals their identities
When they are ablaze, he states:
“I now see distinctly... what manner of people these maskers are. They are a great king and his seven privy-councillors - a king who does not scruple to strike a defenceless girl, and his seven councillors who abet him in the outrage. As for myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester - and this is my last jest.”
The chains that Hop-Frog wraps the King and his seven council members in, also are symbolic
They symbolize Hop-Frog and Trippetta’s enslavement by the King
These chains also symbolize the iron grip with which the King rules his kingdom
When Hop-Frog set the group ablaze, the fire in the story is a symbol of punishment
Poe also leads us to believe that Hop-Frog might have been driven mad by the cruelty of the King and his ministers One major literary element that is apparent in this story is irony
At the end of the story, Hop-Frog makes a fool out of the King, instead of the other way around
Ironic twist of fate
Originally, the King rules over Hop-Frog, but the tables turn as Hop-Frog held the sovereigns’ fate at the conclusion of the story
Hop-Frog thus disproves the King’s assumption of him as a worthless fool
Also ironic are Hop-Frog’s physical abilities
Since he was a crippled dwarf, it is ironic that he showed great athletic ability when he pulled the eight costumed people up to the ceiling by a mere chain
He was able to transcend these physical limitations, as his arms contained “prodigious power,” in order to compensate for his incapable legs Orangutans were newly discovered creatures during the time that Poe wrote this story
At that time, they were conceived as brutally strong, menacing creatures
They also were considered extremely unintelligent
This is symbolic of the way Hop-Frog perceives the King and his council members
A major theme in this story is transcendence
It has multiple examples of a man’s ability or inability to transcend either means of absolute power or limitations of any kind
Contributing to the Ministers’ fates was their inability to transcend and recognize others’ transcendence
After Hop-Frog drinks, he goes beyond the usual crazed state of drunkenness on account of Trippetta's abuse
The King is unable to perceive Hop-Frog's transcendence and thus he entrusts him with the keys to the locked doors of the ballroom
Hop-Frog’s transcendence of his physical inabilities is proven by the last line of dialogue in the story:
“…this is my last jest.”
The roof of the saloon, through which he escapes, is symbolic of Hop-Frog’s physical body – it symbolizes his transcendence of his physical limitations
There is also much parallelism between Hop-Frog and “The Black Cat”
The mention of an animal
Both in the name of the story and the costumes of the sovereigns
Also parallel is the progressive demise of the characters
In “Black Cat,” mention of the first black cat initiates the downward spiral of the narrator’s personality
In Hop-Frog, the inevitable yet progressive demise of the King and his ministers starts simply with Hop-Frog’s idea of the orangutan costumes “ ‘Hop Frog’ is an interesting tale of hardship, tyranny, and perseverance and its incorporation of literary elements bolsters its strength and effect on the reader. ’ ”
“The story is notable mainly as a terrible exposition of the darkness of a human soul.”
Hop-Frog was one of the last stories Poe wrote during Poe’s lifetime
It was finished, just months before his death, in February of 1849 Some points in the story seem autobiographic to Poe’s life, as it was written toward the end of his lifetime
The king is symbolic of Poe’s wealthy foster father, John Allan
Like Poe, Hop-Frog is taken away from his home and sent to live with the 'King'
Both Poe and Hop-Frog are bothered by a glass of wine
As in The Black Cat, Fiend Intemperance makes a lasting impression in many of Poe’s tales, especially Hop-Frog, as it is very analogous to his own alcoholism The last line of dialogue is extremely significant in a sense of Poe’s life
When writing this line of prose, “this is my last jest,” Poe had truthfully yet unknowingly predicted his own fate of death
Hop-Frog’s last jest is symbolic of the entire story being one of the last that Poe ever wrote http://www.gcschools.net/ghs/housej/Studentwork/ryan.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hop-Frog#Analysis

http://schoolworkhelper.net/edgar-allan-poes-hop-frog-summary-analysis/

http://www.eapoe.org/works/mabbott/tom3t037.htm

http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2010/08/hop-frog.html

http://poethis.blogspot.com/2009/06/final-analysis-of-rues-morgue_22.html Credits:
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