26 pages 52 minutes read

Edgar Allan Poe


Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1849

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The Pursuit of Revenge

At its core, “Hop-Frog” is a revenge tale, and the plot structure follows this theme. The first 10 paragraphs of the story are exposition-heavy. The narrator details how the king and his ministers mistreat the jester and his friend. Hop-Frog is forced to live in the kingdom against his will in servitude. His name and identity are stripped from him, and he’s reduced to being known by his painful gait: “Hop-Frog, through the distortion of his legs, could move only with great pain and difficulty along a road or floor” (Paragraph 7). Every step hurts Hop-Frog, but the king finds humor in the small man’s discomfort. Hop-Frog’s pain, both physical and emotional, is what gives the king and the ministers pleasure. The background further characterizes the king and his men as one unit: They typically unleash their brutality as a group. The expositional setup promotes sympathy for Hop-Frog and a negative opinion about the king and his men, which makes the conclusion more satisfying.

The story’s climax completes the revenge arc: The king and his ministers are stripped of their identities, like Hop-Frog, seen by the crowd as eight crazed orangutans instead of a noble group of wise men and leaders.