The Prisoner of Zenda

by Anthony Hope Hawkins

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What is the purpose of "The Six" gang in The Prisoner of Zenda?

Quick answer:

The purpose of the gang known as "The Six" in The Prisoner of Zenda is to cater to Black Michael's every whim. Fiercely loyal servants of the devious royal, these gentlemen will do whatever he tells them to do.

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As Colonel Sapt tells Rudolf Rassendyll, "The Six" consists of half a dozen gentlemen whom Black Michael, the story's chief antagonist, maintains in his household. Three of them are Ruritanian, one is a Frenchman, another one's a Belgian, and the other is from England.

Sapt goes on to say that they belong to Black Michael body and soul, an indication that they are fiercely loyal to him and will do whatever he asks them to do. In fact, Fritz says, without a word of exaggeration, that they would all cut a throat if Michael told them to.

As one might expect, "The Six" are willing participants in Black Michael's devilish plot to deprive his half-brother Rudolph of the Ruritanian throne. Fritz has figured out that three of Michael's gang are in Streslau, which, according to Sapt, means that the king must be alive, as the other three will be guarding him.

Even though the members of "The Six" are supposed to be gentlemen, their conduct is anything but gentlemanly. But then the same can be said of Black Michael. So in that sense, one could say that the so-called gentleman of "The Six" are simply following their leader.

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