Hop-Frog (Poe)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A vengeful court jester, with the help of a fellow captive, exacted fiery revenge on a cruel king and his seven ministers by disguising them as orangutans and setting them ablaze during a masquerade.

A king, known for his love of jokes, had a jester named Hop-Frog, who was also a dwarf and a cripple.

Hop-Frog — narrator; dwarf and cripple; court jester; resourceful, vengeful, and cunning.

Hop-Frog and a young girl named Trippetta, also a dwarf, were close friends, having been forcibly taken from their homes and presented as gifts to the king.

Trippetta — dwarf; beautiful dancer; Hop-Frog's friend; graceful, influential, and loyal.

The king often forced Hop-Frog to drink wine, which would drive him to madness.

The King — cruel, corpulent ruler; fond of practical jokes; tyrannical, insensitive.

One day, the king decided to have a masquerade and sought Hop-Frog's assistance in creating a unique spectacle. Hop-Frog suggested that the king and his seven ministers dress as orangutans, chained together, and pretend to have escaped from their keepers. The king agreed, and Hop-Frog prepared their costumes, covering them in tar and flax to resemble the animals' hair.

During the masquerade, the king and his ministers, dressed as orangutans, caused a commotion among the guests. Hop-Frog, holding a torch, pretended to examine the orangutans to determine their identities. As he did so, he set the king's flaxen coat on fire, causing the entire group to be engulfed in flames.

I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester - and this is my last jest.

The guests watched in horror as the king and his ministers burned to death, unable to help them.

The eight corpses swung in their chains, a fetid, blackened, hideous, and indistinguishable mass.

Hop-Frog then revealed that he knew the true identities of the orangutans and that this was his final jest. He escaped through the skylight, and it was believed that Trippetta, who had been on the roof, helped him in his revenge.

The cripple hurled his torch at them, clambered leisurely to the ceiling, and disappeared through the skylight.

Neither Hop-Frog nor Trippetta was seen again.