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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain
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What are some examples of hypocrisy in the text of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?  

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Hypocrisy is saying you have moral beliefs that you don't practice or adhere to in your real life.

The king offers one of the most audacious examples of hypocrisy in a novel with no shortage of hypocrites.

The king is a heartless, probably sociopathic, liar, cheat, fraud, and money lover....

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Hypocrisy is saying you have moral beliefs that you don't practice or adhere to in your real life.

The king offers one of the most audacious examples of hypocrisy in a novel with no shortage of hypocrites.

The king is a heartless, probably sociopathic, liar, cheat, fraud, and money lover. He would murder his best friend for a few bucks and leave a child to starve if he could get hold of the child's money. Nevertheless, at a camp revival meeting, the king responds to an altar call and relates the following to the crowd, as Huck summarizes it:

Thanks to goodness he’d been robbed last night and put ashore off of a steamboat without a cent, and he was glad of it; it was the blessedest thing that ever happened to him, because he was a changed man now, and happy for the first time in his life; and, poor as he was, he was going to start right off and work his way back to the Indian Ocean, and put in the rest of his life trying to turn the pirates into the true path . . .

This is an example of over-the-top, laugh-out-loud hypocrisy. The king would never be happy to be robbed, he is not a changed man, and he has no intention of preaching the word to pirates, as he believes Christianity is a joke. Nevertheless, he pretends to be a humble Christian who doesn't care about money. He pretends he is living to save souls for Jesus.

Sadly, the crowd falls for this and takes up a collection. The king is delighted to have gotten a good haul of money, all of which he will spend on himself.

One of Twain's messages is that hypocrisy pays, which means that people will continue to pretend to be what they are not until they suffer unpleasant consequences for it.

A form of hypocrisy that permeates the novel in the broadest way is the idea that you can be a good Christian and own slaves. Anyone who truly believes in Christian morality, which at the very least says do unto others as you like done unto you, could never own slaves. Yet Huck, caught in a hypocritical society, believes it is more immoral to help a slave escape than to question the institution of slavery.

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Pap Finn offers a few examples of hypocrisy. He claims ownership over his son's money though he had no part in raising Huck, took no part in procuring the money and took no risk to get it as Huck did. The argument Pap makes in this case is based on family obligation. 

An argument on filial loyalty made by the degenerate Pap Finn is plainly hypocritical given his history of abuse, negligence and disappearance. 

The King and the Duke also present examples of hypocrisy. One instance of this comes when Huck finally tries to make his escape from the two men after one of their attempts to defraud a town goes awry. 

Huck runs from the Wilks funeral grounds back to the boat, attempting to escape with Jim on the raft. The King and the Duke, however, also make it back to the raft. 

They deride Huck for running out on them and being disloyal. Huck reflects on the fact that they did not lose any time in looking for him as they fled the funeral. If they had, Huck could have gotten away. 

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