The Hop Frog by Edgar Allan Poe: Characters & Setting

Instructor: Tina Miller

Tina earned an MFA in Creative Writing, has several published novels and short stories, and teaches English and writing.

Hop-Frog is no frog; he's a jester. Edgar Allan Poe's ''The Hop Frog'' shows just how a jester can outwit a king. With the characters and the palatial setting, anything can happen.

A Riddle

What do you get when the wits of an overbearing, practical-joking king spar with those of a dwarfed jester? You get Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Hop Frog.

Life in a king's lair can be amusing or dreadful depending on the character's role therein. For Hop-Frog, life is not always comical. Yet he becomes the creative director behind an upcoming masquerade. Let's see where this takes place and who's involved.

When and Where

The setting of The Hop Frog is a time when servitude is standard and monarchies are commonplace. People drink wine from goblets, and masquerades are customary. When preparations for such a masquerade begin, the imagery of 'where' becomes clearer: ''The grand saloon in which the masquerade was to take place, was a circular room, very lofty, and receiving the light of the sun only through a single window at top.'' A large chandelier hangs, its candles dripping wax from the ceiling. Flambeaus flicker as they nestle in the hands of the stone figures (carytides) lining the hallways.

Hop-Frog and Trippetta

The jester, the one with the wildly anticipated masquerade idea, is the protagonist, Hop-Frog. He earns his name ''... on account of his inability to walk as other men do. In fact, Hop-Frog could only get along by a sort of interjectional gait - something between a leap and a wriggle ...''

However, Hop-Frog is strong-armed and dexterous, with a keen knack for planning masquerades. He serves the king alongside his friend, Trippetta. Both characters are short in stature, and both were gifted to the king from conquered lands. However, only Trippetta is nimble. She is ''... of exquisite proportions, and a marvellous dancer ...'' Anything can happen when this duo puts their minds together.

The King and His Counsel, the Eight Ourang-outangs

The antagonist in the story is the king. The king is one who likes practical jokes. ''He had an especial admiration for breadth in a jest, and would often put up with length, for the sake of it. Over-niceties wearied him.'' Thus, his court is comprised with a jester, not only to provide entertainment, but also ''... to counterbalance the heavy wisdom of the seven wise men who were his ministers - not to mention himself.'' All joking aside, the king is a tyrant, forcing others to drink for his own amusement and shoving people out of his way. His goblet may brim with wine, but his temperament brims with anger.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account