The Prince and the Pauper is consisted of 33 chapters that are named shortly named and announce the theme of the chapter. It is actually an additional comment of the story teller in which we find out the faith of the characters after the novel is done. The novel has a short prologue in which Twain speaks of the difference between literature and history in a way it was stated by a Greek philosopher. It states that history tells what happened and literature tells what could have happened.
Identity swap is a common theme of literary works. It is how this novel begins. The characters have difficulties dealing with their new roles and besides their physical similarity they share some characteristics that help them get through. Identity swap gives the writer endless opportunities of tangling the plot and getting characters into unbelievable situations. The beauty of the novel is in its moral that in life moral strength and endless faith in justice is enough to keep us going on. It’s the only way to get the earned prize in life.
In the 16th century in London a very poor boy named Tom meets Prince Edward. Edward was thirsty for adventures and games without keeping in mind that there is a whole new world outside the palace while Tom wanted to be wealthy. One day the guards acted badly towards Tom who wanted to see the prince and an interesting story starts there. Edward felt sorry for the poor boy and invites him to play together. Through they playtime they realize they both want to be the other one and decide to change their clothes and switch roles.
When Tom was taking of his shirt Edward saw a bruise and went to punish the guard but forgot that he was wearing Toms clothes. The guard was convinced that he was the boy who tried to get into the castle and kicks him out while Tom stays in the castle. Edward become a punch line outside and has to save himself by running while Tom is believed to be the prince who lost his mind all of the sudden and started acting strange. The servants were very considerate towards him and did not tell a soul about his madness. Luckily Tom was learning fast and knew how to behave because he always wanted to be a prince.
When the ill king Edward dies the prince is supposed to be crowned the king of Wales. That causes Tom trouble, even though he enjoyed being a prince and was looking forward to being a king. He got himself into the role of the prince so much that he decided to spare the life of two convicts who were about to be executed. His nobleness causes admiration with the servants who are convinced that the prince is getting better.
In the meantime Edward was still exposed to the attacks of the world and the worse moment was when Toms father John gets a hold of him. The only person who suspected that it was not him was his mother. Father Andrew tried to save him for Johns cruelty but ends up dead. Edward manages to run away and decides to go to the castle to prove that he is the real prince. On his way over he runs into a soldier and an adventurer who came back to England after a long period of slavery.
Hendon was forced to leave his home and he felt sorry for the poor boy so he accepted to play the role of the servant to the prince and be his protector. Unfortunately John manages to find them and take Edward outside London into the barns where wanderers gathered. There Edward was once again exposed to humiliation.
Edward manages to run away because the wanderers wanted him to rob and in his runaway he finds a man who believed himself to be archangel. He believed the prince but he considered his father to be the one to blame for everything wrong so he decides to kill Edward. In that moment Miles Hendon comes along but the ‘’archangel’’ hides Edward and directs Hendon onto a wrong lead. Edward was found by John who takes him back to the wanderers but the prince manages to make friends there. Miles Hendon manages to find him in the most important moment when he was accused of theft. Hendons resourcefulness saved him from death.
After that Miles and Edward went to the crowning where Tom forgets that he is not the real prince. When his mother bows at his feet during the coronation he denies of her but feel guilty instantly and because of that the honors of being a king lost their meaning. On the same day of the coronation the two boys meet and manage to explain the situation but everybody believes in it after Edward explains where the state seal is placed. Hendon was very surprised that Edward was really a prince. After the coronation Hugh had to return Hendon his estate. Not much after he died and finally Hendon was able to be with the women he loves which was Edith. Tom and Hendon were in the kings mercy and Edward VI. was thought valuable life lessons and was remembered as a good king.
Author: Mark Twain biography