Chapter 23 Notes from Huckleberry Finn

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Huckleberry Finn Chapter 23

The King and the Duke prepare for the show and that night the audience is filled with men. The Duke gets on stage and goes on and on about the tragedy. Then, out comes the King, naked and with paint all over him. Everyone laughs and enjoys it. The King leaves the stage and after a pause, the audience begins to wonder if that was the entire show. They start to feel cheated, like the show was not what they expected. They all get up to go after the King and the Duke, but one man suggests a different idea: everyone in the audience should invite the rest of the town to come and see the show for the next two night, and be cheated just like they were.

The next two nights the show is sold out. On the third night, however, it is the same crowd from the first two nights. Huck notices that their pockets are stuffed with rotten eggs and cabbages. Huck knows that they are going to throw the eggs and cabbages on them if they perform the play. He and the Duke sneak out just before the show starts and make their way to the raft and down the river. Just as they think that the King is having a pretty bad time dealing with all of those people back at the theater (considering that Huck and the Duke snuck away without telling the King about the eggs and cabbages), he peeks his head out of the wigwam. He had made it back to the raft after all, by sneaking away just like Huck and the Duke. The King and the Duke laugh about how they fooled that town. Altogether, they made $465.

Jim and Huck talk about Kings. Jim thinks that the King and the Duke are just jokers, but Huck assures him that that's how all kings have been throughout history. Despite his historical assurances, Huck gets the actual facts all jumbled up.

They float down the river and Huck hears Jim talking about how he misses his family. He's never been away from home before. He tells Huck about how he hit his little four-year-old girl once because she wouldn't listen to him and shut the door. Since realizing that she was deaf and dumb, he has felt intense guilt for treating her so badly.

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