Friday, February 20, 2009
This week's short story, "Hop-Frog", is quite different in tone from the ones we've read in previous weeks, although certainly not a cheery story by any means. Hop-Frog is a court jester for a king with a love of practical jokes. His physical deformities, and the fact that he is a dwarf, make him the butt of jokes by many members of the court. His only friend is Tripetta, another dwarf, who is beautiful and graceful, and dances for the king.
One night the king decides he wants to be entertained. He forces Hop-Frog to drink several goblets of wine, knowing it does not sit well with him, and then demands a masquerade. Tripetta pleads with the king to leave her friend alone, but the king cruelly pushes her to the ground. Hop-Frog tells the king he has an idea for a new masquerade, which the king and his 7 advisors will all have parts in. The king thinks this is a grand idea, and the jester's revenge is set in motion.
I'm not going to reveal the ending this time, because I don't want to ruin the surprise for all of you who are going to rush right out and read this one (*grin*), but needless to say, the king and his friends get a nasty surprise. It was interesting to read a story by Poe not written in first person. It is still suspenseful, but I think it loses some of that intensity that Poe is able to capture when he allows his characters to speak directly to the reader. It has been suggested that this story may have been written as a sort of "literary revenge" against some people who had been spreading rumors about Poe - reminding us all to not tick off the budding writers in our acquaintance, or we might find ourselves on the receiving end of a nasty literary demise.
Anyone who is interested can find the full text here - once again, it's not a long read, so take the plunge!! =)
Next week we will be reading Never Bet the Devil Your Head: A Tale with a Moral. I already can't wait!
Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.