Q.4: How does the reader learn about Rassendyll’s connection with the Elphberg? What part does red hair play in the story?
Ans: The Prisoner of Zenda opens with the description of the home of a rich family inEngland. The Rassendylls are anstocrats. The Duke of Burlesdon, who is the elder brother, takes a keen interest in politics and parliamentary affairs. His wife, Rose is a beautiful, active and sensible lady. The younger brother. Rudolf Rassendyll is a highly educated young than. He sneaks lour languages fluently, is a good horseman, crack and shot and a trained swordsman. He is the hero of the novel on the surface. The Rassendylls appear to be one the noblest families ofEngland, they have wealth, good name power and social status. However, like every other great family their history also has a dark spot. In their case, it is a skeleton in the cupboard.
Legacy of sin:
More than two centuries ago there had been a scandal in their family. A young Prince fromRumaniahad come toEnglandand stayed there for a period of six month. During the period of his stay, he had developed illicit relations with Countess Amelia. On account of his bad activities he was forced to leaveEnglandvery early, but he left behind a legacy for all time as far as the Rassendylls were concerned, the Prince belonged to the Elphberg Dynasty and their distinctive mark was a sharp pointed nose and red hair. We are told that since the visit of that Prince, some members of the Rassendyll family always had a sharp pointed nose and read hair. At the time when this story is told, Rudolf was the person who had these characteristics qualities of the Elphberg. He looked more of an Elphberg than a Rassendyll. As the story goes ahead, we find that this resemblance between Rudolf Rassendyll and Rudolf Elphberg, Crown Prince of the Ruritania, provides the plot of the whole story.
At the time when the story opens we are introduced into the Rassendyll’s family home, lord Burlesdon, Rose and Rudolf Rassendyll are seated at the breakfast table and are busy in talking. The topic under discussion is Rudolf himself. His sister-in-law, who is a very clever lady, appears to be very much interested in the material and worldly welfare of her young brother-in-laws. She tells him openly that it was rather bad that having reached the age of twenty-nine, he was still without any profession in life. She tells him that being a cultured and educated man it befitted him to get employed in the Foreign Service of the country. Rudolf, on King, but he cannot expose him (Rudolf Rassendyll) as an imposter because if he does so, he will have to admit that he does made the real King a prisoner. Rudolf Rassendyll, Sapt and Fritz cannot expose the crime committed by Michael, because if they do so they will themselves expose that they practiced a fraud on the whole nation.
It is at this stage that Rudolf Rassendyll plays a clever game and proves himself a shrewd interpreter of human character as well as the trend of events. He has full appreciation of the fact that popularity with the common people always pays in the end. He also understands that he has taken a great risk in trying to impose upon a whole nation and that sooner or later he is going to be exposed and as much it is in his own invests and much more in the interests of the real King that he (Rudolf Rassendyll) should associate himself with the will and desires of the people.
Confidence in People:
As the crowned King of Ruritania, he is entitled to full military escort and police protection; but to show to the people that he relies more on their love than the protection which can be provided by the military and the police he goes about freely in the streets of Strelsau and visits all their parks and public places without any escort.
Public esteem for Flavia:
In a few days he realized that Countess Flavia enjoyed unusual esteem and popularity with the people, who love her with a sincere devotion and that it was the earliest wish of the people of Ruritania that the King should marry her and make her the queen. He starts visiting her and makes-show of being on love with her as the real king was. Later on in the story, we find that this love, which was originally started for political reasons, become a true love and Rudolf Rassendyll and Countess Flavia become sincerely attached to each other.
Keeping up appearances:
Rudolf very cleverly keeps up appearances and successfully maintains his position on the throne. Sapt provides with expert guidance, which at the earlier stage he was very much in need of. Fritz is “really worried about the life and safety of the real king and repeatedly urges Sapt and Rudolf Rassendyll to the immediate steps to liberate him from She captivity of Black Michael. There is however, one fuel, which gives them hope that the real King was alive. Three of the trusted followers of the Duke of Strelsau (Black Michael) are present in Zenda and three in Strelsau. This shows that the real King was held a captive in Zenda and that three men had been deputed to keep guard over him, while the three others were in Strelsau to keep watch over the safely of the Duke. The fear of Frit are thus to some extent allayed.
Interesting Incident Of The Novel The Prisoner of Zenda Next Post:
Invitation of Lady ‘A’ and Rudolfs meeting