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Please could you explain how this quote from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a...

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beatleslvr4ever | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 28, 2012 at 1:07 PM via web

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Please could you explain how this quote from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a satire?

"We are sold-mighty bad sold. But we don't want to be the laughing stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as long as we live. No. What we want is to go out here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town! then we'll all be in the same boat. Ain't that sensible?......go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy." (150)

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM (Answer #1)

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This is of course the reaction of the audience after seeing the first performance of The Royal Nonesuch. What Twain is actually revealing here is something that is very depressing about human nature. What is more important to the audience than anything else is that they do not admit they were taken in by the Duke and the Prince. As a result, they actually conspire with the Duke and the Prince (albeit unknowingly) to send other ignorant people to be tricked just as they were. They would rather see others tricked than admit that they were taken in themselves.

This is a key aspect of satire, because throughout this novel, Twain presents the rather dark and terrible side of human nature that is essentially very selfish and unkind. This is just one further example of this on display, as unscrupulous individuals such as the Duke and the Prince are able to exploit the vanity and selfishness of individuals in order to line their own pockets. 

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