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Transcript of Huckleberry Finn
Law and Humor
In our passages, Twain masterfully uses satire to display how humans will believe everything they are told, even when it is an obvious lie. Because as long as the person making a claim is of higher authority, they can't be wrong, right? We are going to examine Twain's use of hyperbole, ridicule, and irony. Then we're going to look at the diction he uses to amplify the aforementioned satiric elements. Finally, we will examine who Twain would choose for ridicule in modern times.
At this time we will read each of the bills. If the audience could please stand up then sit down when you feel you would not attend the event being described.
There are two main targets of the bills and the surrounding paragraphs:
In the first bill, the target is the citizens of the town, representing how gullible Americans are. Twain uses this to point out how little may have changed since the setting of the book. The second bill also ridicules the local citizens, but in a different way.
The second section shows how the people of the South have become simple-minded animals with more basic vocabulary and a crass interest in entertainment.
Twain used big, exciting words in the first bill: "The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling";
"the Illustrious Kean!" This emphasized the hyperbole and exaggeration.
In the second bill, he used smaller, less exciting words:
"Thrilling Tragedy"; there were less exclamation points."Ladies and Children not admitted."
Companies promising things that they will not have in the end.
People listening to advertisements and buying things because they sound good, almost too good to be true.
Governments taking advantage of the gullibility of people, making them think they have power.
Lastly, Twain subtly proposes the following questions: How much has society changed in the last 50 years? Do we act any different?Would we still get fooled in the same way? This is what Twain was trying to ask the people of America. If we are told that something is good, would we examine it ourselves?
For One Night Only! The world renowned tragedians,
David Garrick the younger, of Drury Lane Theatre, London,
Edmund Kean the elder,
of the Royal Haymarket Theatre, Whitechapel,
Pudding Lane, Piccadilly, London, and the Royal Continental Theatres, in
At the court house!
For 3 nights only!
The world renowned tragedians
David Garrick The Younger!
Edmund Kean The Elder!
Of the London and Continental Threaters,
In thier Thrilling Tragedy of
The Kind’s Cameleopard
The Royal Nonesuch!!!
Admission 50 cents
Ladies and Children not admitted.
Fun Facts of Gullibility
The actors that the king and the duke pretended to be were not alive during the book. They weren't even alive at the same time.
David Garrick: 1717-1779
Edmund Kean: 1789-1833
their sublime Shaksperean Spectacle entitled The Balcony Scene in
Romeo and Juliet!!!
Romeo...................................... Mr. Garrick.
Juliet..................................... Mr. Kean.
Assisted by the whole strength of the company!
New costumes, new scenery, new appointments!
The thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling Broad-sword conflict In
Richard III................................ Mr. Garrick.
Richmond................................... Mr. Kean.
(by special request,)
Hamlet's Immortal Soliloquy!!
By the Illustrious Kean!
Done by him 300 consecutive nights in Paris!
For One Night Only,
On account of imperative European engagements!
Admission 25 cents; children and servants, 10 cents.
Use of the courthouse
"The duke he hired the court house,"
"...300 consecutive nights in Paris! "
"...thrilling, masterly, and blood-curdling ..."
"...sublime Shakespearean Spectacle..."
"these Arkansaw lunkheads couldn't come up to Shakespeare; what they wanted was low comedy and maybe something ruther worse than low comedy"
Thank you for listening and participating. The audience may now commence the applause. Comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
The courthouse in a small town was likely to represent justice and truth, which was far from the Duke and King's intentions. Additionally, they use the courthouse numerous times, hiring it a second time, despite
"imperative European engagements"
Also, Twain turns his satire upon the Duke. Huck notes that:
"[the crowd's laughter] made the duke mad"
The Duke obviously never planned for his show to live up to its fraudulent credentials, yet he is hurt by the crowds laughter as if he intended for it to be a professional portrayal of Shakespere.
The ridicule of the townspeople in this passage is clear: they are directly labeled as crude "lunkheads" by the Duke.
Additionally, the fact that men showed up in droves to a second show, one that shouldn't exist due to aforementioned "European engagements" mocks how quickly the townspeople forget the previous day when a grand new show has opened its doors.
In these examples, the use of blown up half-truths and blatant lies goes beyond subtle persuasion: the Duke is practically shouting about how great the attraction will be, going far beyond what is necessary to describe it. This demonstrates the Duke's desperation, lack of integrity, and further highlights how terrible the show actually was.
Showing his skill as a writer, Twain uses hyperbole, irony, and ridicule along with careful diction to fill our selection with many layers of satire. If he was alive today, Twain would not shy away from applying the same treatment to groups that attempt to cash in on our society's gullibility and trust in those who seem above us.