26 pages 52 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1849

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Literary Devices

Point of View

An unnamed narrator tells the story from a third-person limited point of view. The narrative reveals very little about the narrator except that this person resides in the same kingdom where the events of the story take place: “Our king, as a matter of course, retained his ‘fool’” (Paragraph 4).

Despite the narrator’s absence from the action, he inserts his opinion and bias throughout the story. Ironically, the narrator isn’t exempt from the same attitudes and discriminations of which the narrative accuses the king. The narrator believes that he lives in the “civilized world” (Paragraph 43) but that the little persons (or “dwarfs”) are from a “barbarous region” (Paragraph 8), and the narrator shows both distaste for the king and superiority over the little persons (or “dwarfs”). Because the narrator tells the story in past-tense, those opinions help demonstrate general attitudes toward the king after the events of the story.


The story starts with the narrator noting that the king “seemed to live only for joking” (Paragraph 1) and that “practical jokes suited his taste far better than verbal ones” (Paragraph 2). However, the king’s love of practical jokes causes his death.