king “had an especial admiration for breadth in a jest.” [Am. Lit.: “Hop-Frog” in Portable Poe, 317–329]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The eight ourang-outangs, taking Hop-Frog's advice, waited patiently until midnight (when the room was thoroughly filled with masqueraders) before making their appearance.
I believe the name 'Hop-Frog' was not that given to the dwarf by his sponsors at baptism, but it was conferred upon him, by general consent of the several ministers, on account of his inability to walk as other men do.
The narrator observes that "it was no small source of self-gratulation with our king that he possessed a triplicate treasure in one person." (24) This "treasure" of Hop-Frog is nothing but a more uncouth manifestation of the king and his ministers' physical oddities; since Hop-Frog's gait and physical features stand in contrast to the purportedly able-bodied King and his ministers, the titular character provides "jest" through his physique as well as his antics.
Poe plays upon the duality of appearance and reality in his exercise of anthropocentrism: his narrator comments that Hop-Frog's "interjectional gait" afforded immense pleasure to the ministers, but "consolation" to the king because of the latter's "protuberance ...
Now, it is Hop-Frog who becomes the king and will dictate the extent and direction of a joke that will be "an excellent sport if well enacted." (33) Hop-Frog's first explanation of his capital diversion seems to start from the point where "The System of Dr.
Hop-Frog's idea to enchain the king and his councilors is built more out of an urge to turn the tables because of how they have had deprived Trippetta and Hop-Frog the elemental right to live with dignity and freedom.
Hop-Frog's intelligence and creativity comes to the fore when he convinces the party involved that "the orangutan was much more efficiently represented by flax" than by "feathers" (904), and the mathematical precision with which he arranges for the chains to be passed around the king and his seven ministers.
The tale's final paragraphs reveal the fullest extent of Hop-Frog's scheming perception of the state of affairs, but it should be remembered that he doesn't act, but reacts.