As with the satire of the camp meeting, the parody of Shakespeare is another staple of frontier humor that Twain uses for comic effect. The duke's version includes a mixture of Hamlet and Macbeth, and the resulting soliloquy contains misplaced phrases such as "To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin."The irony of the two frauds attempting to quote Shakespeare is surpassed only by the irony of their attempt to present it to the small Arkansas village. Huck's description of the barren town and its inhabitants reminds readers of the squalid and cruel nature of society. The men are not only cruel to defenseless animals, they are also vicious with one another as is revealed in the death of poor Boggs. Similar to Twain's use of the Mississippi, the murder of Boggs is based on a real event that Twain witnessed as a young man. The incident illustrates the dangers of pride and a mob mentality, and also
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