Robert Browning’s Pied Piper: an Agent of Justice.

Robert Browning’s Pied Piper: an Agent of Justice.

Robert Browning’s Pied Piper: an Agent of Justice Abstract The well-known legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin has initiated a great controversy concerning the identity of this musician. The majority of scholars have considered the Piper as a malicious avenger and associated him with death. However, a further inquiry into the nature of his actions would refute such an assumption. The present study aims at proving that the Piper is no hard-hearted villain, but an agent of justice who retaliates the materialistic elders of Hamelin for their arrogance, greed, twisted behaviour and loss of moral integrity. In 1842, Robert Browning (1812-1889) re-wrote the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin in a poetic form. His aim was to amuse young William, John Macready’s son, who was so fond of illustrating fantastic stories and fairy tales.1 The legend unfolds the tragedy of an accursed German town, Hamelin, where the rats had become a health hazard and spoiled the citizens’ daily life. The attempts of the Mayor and the Corporation to stop vermin were in vain. Finally, a strange piper arrived to the town and offered to rid the place from rats in return of an agreed sum of money. A bargain was set between the Hamelin elders and the Pied piper, and the rats were eventually drawn to the river by the power of his magical music. The greedy Mayor and Corporation refused to pay their saviour his due. Thus, on June 26, 1284, one hundred and thirty Hamelin children had been led to Koppelberg Hill, where they disappeared at the hands of the musician who was cheated out of his money.2 Various interesting theories have been presented to interpret the sudden disappearance of those children, simultaneously seeking to probe the enigmatic identity of the multi- coloured dressed Piper who was responsible for the incident. He has been identified as a spiteful avenger, a pederast, a recruiter of children to holy wars, an instigator of immigrati…


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