Evils of Monarchy and Society in the Works of Mark Twain Essay

Evils of Monarchy and Society in the Works of Mark Twain Essay

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The Evils of Monarchy and Society in the Works of Mark Twain

    In the latter part of his life, Mark Twain developed a deep-rooted hatred for society.  His aphorisms often reflect this contempt: "Every one is a moon and has a dark side which he shows to no one" (Salwen n.pag.).  This disdain for humanity eventually seated itself in complete disapproval for what he called the "damned human race."  Twain's criticism for society appeared in many of his works, growing stronger and stronger as time passed.  Hand in hand with his distaste for society went his hatred for the upper class.  In each of his works, Twain creates a theme of appearance versus reality and ultimately brings out his harsh criticism of monarchies.  Through such royal criticism, Twain comments on American civilization, attacks society's ideals, and assaults commonly held beliefs.


    The Prince and the Pauper has often been written off as just another children's book.  It is seen as Twain's first experience with historical fiction, which simply led into Twain's more famous work, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  However, Twain starts to show his disapproval of monarchies in this book.  Edward, the Prince of England, and a common beggar boy, Tom Canty, switch clothes and identities, throwing each into a social situation with which he is not familiar.  Through the stories of each boy, Twain brings out two themes that reflect his views on monarchy and society.  Underlying the adventures of Tom Canty is Twain's mockery of the idea that clothes determine a man's place in society.  As Twain once said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society" ("Clothes" n.pag.).  Tom Canty assumes the role of King of Engl...

... middle of paper ...

...n.  Boston: Twayne, 1988.

Lynn, Kenneth S.  "Afterword" to The Prince and the Pauper.

"Mark Twain Quotations - Clothes."  [Online] Available:

<http://www.tarleton.edu/~schmidt/Clothes.html> (May 22, 1999)

"Mark Twain Quotations - Monarchy."  [Online] Available:

<http://www.tarleton.edu/~schmidt/Monarchy.html> (May 22, 1999)

Salomon, Roger. B.  Twain and the Image of History.  Yale University, 1961.

 Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol. 48.  Detroit: Gale,


Salwen, Peter.  "The Quotable Mark Twain."  [Online] Available:

 <http://salwen.com/mtquotes.html> (May 4, 1999)

Twain, Mark.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Tom Doherty, 1985.

_____.  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.  New York: Penguin.

_____.  The Prince and the Pauper.  New York: Penguin, 1964.

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