In "The Monkey's Paw", what were the three different wishes of Mr. White's family and how did they get fulfilled? Explain.Explain in detail the 3 wishes and and their results.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While "The Monkey's Paw" is a story which has "Dame Fortuna" as its motif, the macabre  paw and the outcomes of the wishes are what lend the suspense to the narrative.

Despite the warnings of the sergeant major, the Whites do not give any credence to the warnings or the tale of the misfortune of the previous owner.  For, they do not believe in fate.  So, after Herbert's making light of the suspicions about the paw, Mr. White first wishes for two hundred pounds.  Then, after Mr. and Mrs. White do receive two hundred pounds, but only after misfortune has dealt them a cruel blow:  Herbert has been killed; the two hundred pounds is insurance money. 

Having lost her son so tragically, Mrs. White is disconsolate. Her husband then realizes that he can bring Herbert back by using the second wish and ask that their son be returned to life; however, again the Whites do not foresee all possible consequences of their wishes.  The mangled Herbert comes to their door, tortured.  There is nothing to do but make a third wish that Herbert be returned to his grave.  Thus, after having acquired the talisman, the Whites are more misfortunate than before when they were afforded a chance to change fate.

As Shakespeare so often proved, meddling with Fortune has its consequences.  Like Romeo, the Whites, too, have become "Fortune's fools."