Literature / The Prince and the Pauper

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Left: Edward VI of England. Right: Tom Canty. I think...

The Prince and the Pauper is an 1882 Mark Twain Historical Fiction novel about a Street Urchin named Tom Canty and Prince Edward VI of England switching places. Tom has always dreamed of a better life, and the Prince is fascinated by Tom's lifestyle. They exchange clothes and swap identities, and the boys each find perks and struggles to each of the other's lives. Tom has matters of national importance to attend to and has a hard time adjusting to court life, and Prince Edward finds out just how hard an urchin's life is.

The book was adapted to film many times. A 1990 animated cartoon short of the same name stars Mickey Mouse (in his dual role) as both the prince and the pauper who exchange clothes and swap identities but one of them was captured by the captain of the guards, Pete, along with Donald Duck (just before Goofy rescues them). The cartoon short was released as a Walt Disney Mini Classic in 1991 on VHS by Walt Disney Home Video (and recently re-released on DVD). A 2004 version had Barbie (in her dual role) as the princess and the pauper who exchange clothes and swap identities (the 2004 Lionsgate DVD release is long out of print but the 2010 Universal DVD re-issue is still available). A 2007 updated version stars Dylan and Cole Sprouse (TV's The Suite Life of Zack & Cody) alongside Kay Panabaker (Fame) as their ultra cute versions of Tom Canty and Prince Edward. A most recent version had Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell who accidentally switch places with Garrett Clayton and Grace Phipps, hence the official name of Teen Beach Movie, shown on Disney Channel, as a beach-side adaption of the classic story.

It is the Trope Namer for Prince and Pauper, and arguably the story is Lost in Imitation.

Tropes used by the novel:


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