26 pages 52 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1849

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Story Analysis

Analysis: “Hop-Frog”

Content Warning: This story features enslavement, some derogatory characterizations of heavier people, and outdated and offensive language in regard to little people, as well as the term “madness” to describe mental health conditions such as alcoholism. This language is replicated in this guide only in direct quotes.

The revenge tale of “Hop-Frog” is structured in a setup-and-payoff format, reveling in the more sinful side of human nature that characterizes the Dark Romanticism subgenre. The narrative uses exposition to provide background on the injustices that Hop-Frog endures before the story begins: He’s abused, humiliated, and dehumanized. Enslaved by the king, his role as a jester (or “fool”) centers on his being “a dwarf and a cripple,” so the king regards him as “a triplet treasure” (Paragraph 5).

The men enjoy Hop-Frog’s company by making fun of him. The king and his seven ministers use Hop-Frog’s physical differences and stature to view him as less than a man and more of an animal that exists for their pleasure. The king’s affinity for viciousness fits into Dark Romanticism. The joy he derives from picking on Hop-Frog puts his morality in question and positions him as a Gothic villain.