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What might Twain be satirising through the characters of the king and the duke?

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devonj100 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM via iOS

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What might Twain be satirising through the characters of the king and the duke?

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gpane | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 25, 2013 at 9:31 PM (Answer #1)

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The king and the duke, as Huck quickly realises when they come to join him and Jim on the raft, are a shady pair of con-men. The duke is considerably younger and evidently the more educated of the two, while the king is outwardly more seedy and vulgar, and drunk, but they are both devious, mean-spirited and desperate for money.  They are a couple of low-down rogues, yet they parade themselves as being of high social standing, claiming to be of royal and aristocratic descent. In this way Twain makes fun of people's obsession with social class and grandeur. But the satire also works the other way; Huck observes cynically that they are just as bad as real kings and dukes.

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