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Hop Frog

Slavery was definitely one of the major causes that led to the Civil War, the most dramatic event in the American history. Numerous masterpieces were written to criticize slavery. Among them, we count Poe’s Hop-Frog, also known as Eight Chained Ourang-Outans. Written in 1849, Hop-Frog delivers the message to the Southern States about inevitable tragedy that awaits the Americans as a result of slavery & the slave trade. Each element of the Poe’s story, including character, settings & the plot is somehow related to the historical background of the United States before 1865.In the first place, Poe connects his story to the notion of serfdom by careful selection of characters & the description of relation between them. In fact, from the first reading there is not much of abnormal to remark in the characters’ relation: a simple relation between a king & his “multi-functional” jester. But after an attentive analysis of the story, it becomes obvious that the characters are allegorical. They, in fact, represent the relation between a master & a slave, a possession. This kind of relation characterizes slavery, where one human being “possesses” another one & does with him whatever is desired. Poe gives us some hints to come to this given conclusion:” Our king, as a matter of cause, retained his own fool”. The author uses the word “retained” to describe king’s possession of the jester, which is the key element in bondage, rather than any form of employment. As we find out later, this kind of custody leaves Hop-Frog with practically no freedom, whether it is freedom to chose or freedom to act:” Come here Hop-Frog, … swallow this bumper…It happened to be poor dwarf’s birthday, and the command to drink… forced tears to his eyes. Many large, bitter drops fell into the goblet as he took it humbly from the hands of tyrant” Slaves in Southern Sta...

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