Twain satirizes the human tendency to turn tragedy into spectacle by portraying characters who bask in others suffering, reviling societies barbaric nature. By doing this twain makes the reader question not only the big obvious acts of cruelty but also the small and maybe even insignificant everyday misdemeanors. Also weither people get pleasure out of these barbaric actions. Although it is sad to say people do have evil like natures and twain could be saying that by giving us this insight he could saying that he wants the reader to change for the better. By asking these simple questions the reader realizes not only are a large number of the characters cruel for simple pleasures but we see that humans achieve very small triumphs from the pain of the people who are around them.
A society cannot punish a single person for enjoying pleasure no matter how insignificant if this happened then the whole community would be guilty of this seemingly simple crime.
In Mark Twain’s novel two characters stick out more then would be expected and they are the duke and the king. Their appearance in noticed due to their acts of cruelty through out the whole novel each act more harsh then the last. During one of the schemes they decide to rip the village off by performing a simple show. To do this the king strip down to no clothing and pranced around the stage as if he was a horse “the people most killed them selves laughing; and when the king got done capering around and capered of the scene they roared and stormed and he hawed till he come back and done it again and after that they made him do it again. Well it would make a cow to see the shines that old idiot cut” (twain 178) all the time the crowd laughing at how “idiotic” the king looked. This is a prime of how people enjoy others people pain. They are laughing at him at his humiliation and they are enjoying it just to see someone act as what they call idiotic.
Misfortune is also a pain to a person due to the fact that they are suffering inside. In the novel huck attends a circus and it is a wonderful sight to him with a ring master and bright lights huck is simply amazed at this spectacle. As a drunken man crawls into the ring claiming he was as good of rider as any of them begins to fool around “then the people begun to holler at him and make fun of him and that made him mad, and he begun to rip and tear. So that stirred up the people, and a lot of men begun to pile down off the benches and swarm to the ring, saying knock him down throw him out and one or two women begun to scream” (twain 174-175). Although this was an act on the man being made fun of the crowd was still laughing and enjoying how he looked like a fool and no one tried to stop him or stop other people from making fun of him. This only further emphasizes twain view that people do enjoy others pain to an extreme extent.
Some people have some beliefs that humans are worth nothing more then property and will use them for their own gain. There is another extreme example of this behavior when the duck sells Jim for only forty dollars.” It was an old fellow-a stranger-and he sold out his chance in forty dollars, becuz he got to go up the river and cant wait” (twain 246). This is a perfect quote for this claim due to the fact that although the duke is not getting pleasure out of this he is using Jim as property even though it seemed like the duke did not have a problem with Jim. It is disturbing to think that a man could treat any other man like property of the time. I do understand that during this time men were prejudice against all men of color but to think that they disrespect them enough that they are only worth forty dollars this is a good sign of human cruelty. I know that he is satirizing the human tendency to be cruel because he uses such an extreme example which is very hurtful and the duke is very proud of himself for his actions and that is where the flag goes up he enjoyed causing not only Jim but also huck pain for a simple pleasure such as money.
Another quote that shows how people can turn tragedy into spectacle and is the ideal quote for this is when the town drunk is rousing around town on his horse not causing any harm but enjoying himself and causing enjoyment for other people through his actions. But when he goes for the shopkeeper and provokes him to come on out and he Shirley does but to warn him that he did not leave by the time he was planning to leave then he would come out and shoot him dead. As this happened people showed somewhat of e=what could be called compassion by trying to get him to stop yelling and go home before the guy came out and shoots him and twain did not do this by accident or by a coincidence he did this to say that the human race is not incapable of compassion. But with that in mind shortly after the man walks out of the store raises his pistol and shots the town drunk dead and his daughter runs to him for the dramatic affect and screams out to the crowd for help. But the people were too focused: “the street was full, and everybody who had seen the shooting was telling how it happened and there was a big crowd packed around each one of these followers stretching their necks and listening” (twain 169) enjoying the scene that had just enveloped. This shows how the crowd that had just been trying to help the man was reenacting the whole thing as if it was the best comedy they have ever seen and the people are clapping on those who are doing this. With this it almost makes you lose faith in the entire human race because of the disturbing scene turned into a spectacle so fast. A main reason of why it is so disturbing is because not to long ago a girl was crying to her father that would never again hear her voice. This shows how twain used saterization because he is criticizing just what the claim is implying.
Through out the whole book twain adds little stories of how humans turn tragedy into spectacle. By doing this he makes the reader question the everyday acts of cruelty and how we enjoy them. It is sad to say that what twain was saying and he himself believed that people were evil just for their enjoyment. And I think that he did this not only for just saying io think that he wants the reader to try to help prevent the many ills within society that he saw on a daily basis. I agree that we as people need to change our ways because we are to cruel to each other and thins could be the downfall of the moral character that we as humans need to create a livable society.
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