Where does the "Royal Nonesuch" take place?

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the "Royal Nonesuch" is performed in the court house of a small town in Arkansas. Twain portrays this town satirically as a backward place full of ignorant people.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In chapter 21 of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the Duke and the King have been looking forward to staging their play, the "Royal Nonesuch," and are seeking a suitable location. They practice speeches, which are a strange, nonsensical mishmash of quotations from Shakespeare, and, when they go ashore, they have playbills printed.

One morning, as they are floating through the state of Arkansas, they find "a little one-horse town" where a circus is due to take place. This means that many people are coming into town, and, since, the circus is in the afternoon, an evening performance of the play should have the chance of a good audience. The Duke books the courthouse, and they put up posters.

The "Royal Nonesuch" is even less impressive than the rehearsals would suggest. Huck says that the first performance was "awful funny" but only lasted for a few minutes. Nonetheless, the play runs for three nights, because the members of the first-night audience do not want others to know how they have been swindled. On the third night, the townspeople come prepared to punish the tricksters, with cabbages and rotten eggs to throw, but the Duke and the King manage to escape. Huck notes that they have made the impressive sum of $465 from this venture.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial