The Prince And The Pauper Essay

1533 words - 6 pages

The Prince and the Pauper This tale documents how a twist of fate can alter one's life. It begins with Edward Tudor (Prince, by birth) and Tom Canty (Pauper) switching clothes one day and, in turn, accidentally switching lives. The Prince must now endure the slums of the country in which his father rules. He is beaten, starved, and must beg for food. This aspect of the tale would have given others and me some satisfaction if the Prince proved to be a spoilt brat (routing for the underdog). However, the Prince is kind from the very beginning when he invites Tom into the palace after being mistreated by a guard. Thus, the reader is thoroughly frustrated at the misfortune Edward must endure. Tom, however, lives in the palace and is trying to cope with the ceremonies and traditions required by the Prince of Wales. His seemingly odd behavior is classified as insanity by Henry, the King, and the Lords and Nobles. He slowly but surely adjusts, however, and upon succeeding Henry, turns out to be a very wise king. At the same time, Edward persistently claims to be the rightful king, to all he encounters. For this, he is thoroughly mocked and beaten all the time. Miles Hendon, a man who saves him many different times, befriends him.The "true" Prince spends a short amount of time in jail in which he must witness as innocent people have limbs cut off, and are burned at the stake. He remembers it all though, and promises himself when he is returned to his rightful position he will rule mercifully and correct unjust laws. Due to his persistent claim that he is king, he is sentenced to twelve lashings in which Miles takes for him. Edward is greatly moved that he could be so generous. It is within; these prison walls, in my opinion, that Twain uses the most intense satire throughout the book, socially criticizing the unjust laws and practices of the time period.They are eventually released and head towards London where the Coronation Ceremony is underway. Tom, of course, is the main attraction, with thousands cheering and hailing him as the new king that will bring glory to England. Twain elaborately describes the ceremony, bursting with cheers and jewels, blaring trumpets, and royal processions. Tom is indeed glowing with excitement to be hailed as The King of England. He moves toward the throne whilst all of England holds it breath as the Archbishop of Canterbury lifts the crown, preparing to lay it upon the mock king's head. Twain writes, "At this impressive moment, a startling apparition intruded upon the scene---an apparition observed by none in the absorbed multitude, until it suddenly appeared, moving up the great central aisle. It was a boy, bare headed, ill shod, and clothed in course plebeian garments that were falling to rags. He raised his hand with a solemnity which ill comported with his soiled and sorry aspect, and delivered this note of warning: "I forbid you to set the crown of England upon that forfeited head. I am the king!" Having...

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