Right Vs. Wrong: Type Of Lies In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn

1077 words - 5 pages

Lying, whether for the “right’ or “wrong” reasons occurs frequently throughout The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The “good” lies Huck tells to save Jim are moral opposites from those the duke and dauphin use to swindle civilians out of their money. Scholars often question the morality of these lies. The lies of the characters in this novel have moral differences and Twain uses these lies to pose a question to provoke though in his readers.
Huck tends to tell “stretchers” throughout the novel however he usually has honorable motives or intentions (pg11). As Huck and Miss Wasson’s slave, Jim travel down Mississippi River, the two form a father/son relationship rather than the more ...view middle of the document...

Because he is a child this is a major breakthrough in him becoming a respectable, upright adult, a lesson that the duke and dauphin did not ascertain. The difference between the lies Huck tells and those of duke and dauphin is that Huck has an ever-present conscience that the con artists do not frequently use. When Huck tricked Jim but after Jim expresses how worried he was about Huck, Huck says “[he] wouldn’t done that one if [he] a’ knowed it would make [Jim] feel that way”. Though Jim is a slave Huck realizes a people slave or not should be treated with decency and that playing tricks on people does not exemplify that. His realization of equality among human beings is also significant in his transformation during the novel.
The duke and dauphin are two con artists that lie to unsuspecting southerners for their own selfish benefit. While Huck and Jim continues their adventure on the river they come across two men who claim they are the “Duke of Bridgewater” and the “exiled, trampled-on, and sufferin’ rightful king of France”, which Huck knows is lie (pg133, 135). The foursome makes their way to the Wilks family home and the dauphin and duke convince the family that they are long lost members of the Wilks clan. One of the Wilks sisters then gives them $6000 to invest and the duke and dauphin try to escape with the money. Unfortunately for them, Huck hides the money before they get away. Before Huck hides it, the duke and dauphin contemplate whether they should take the money and they come to the conclusion that they “leav[ing] eight or nine thous’n’ dollars’ worth o’ property layin’ around jest sufferin’ to be scoped in” would make their entire scheme of lying to the family pointless (pg189). Granted the duke questions “rob[bing] orphans of everything they had”, but he ultimately they continues with the original plan (pg187). They keep this masquerade to get the money from the Wilks for their own selfish reasons. They do not consider the family that they will be...

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