Sunday, January 23, 2011
Review: Hop-Frog by Edgar Allan Poe
Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe:
by Edgar Allan Poe
Doubleday (1966), Hardcover, 832 pages
Hop-Frog (1849) was originally published with the title Hop-Frog: Or, the Eight Chained Ourangoutangs.
The story tells about the court jester Hop-Frog, a dwarf. Both Hop-Frog and his best friend Trippetta are slaves of an unnamed king. The king decides to hold a masquerade, Hop-Frog suggests realistic costumes of orangutans, and they have to be chained together implying a massive escape from the zoo.
Hop-Frog is seeking revenge because the king has mistreated Trippetta.
During the masquerade Hop-Frog attaches a chain from the ceiling that is linked to the chain around the men in costume. Trippetta pulls the chain so all the men are hanging above the hall. Hop-Frog wants to identify the men so he climbs up and holds a torch, but soon the costumes catch fire.
Hop-Frog and Trippetta escape to their home country.
A first analysis: Poe writing Hop-Frog seeks revenge on a personal enemy.
A second point of view: the idea of a crime without guilty, the criminal is a dwarf or in The Cask of Amontillado a man with a costume, and the orangutans: fears, monstrosities, deformities. Evil is bond with ugly, so we can separates crime from honest, just watching at.
But Poe could indicates a path towards a different idea: those associations are easy, too easy. Why not?
But all stopped on a sidewalk of Baltimore.