The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

by

Mark Twain

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Lawyer Wilson Character Analysis

One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners. When Reverend Burgess calls Billson’s name during the town hall meeting, Wilson mishears him, so he also stands up to accept the sack of gold. Confusion ensues as Wilson and Billson fall into an argument, both accusing the other of having stolen the correct answer. Wilson eventually delivers a convincing diatribe about how Billson must have snuck into his office and stolen the note, and because Wilson is a lawyer, everybody believes him. Nonetheless, Reverend Burgess reminds the audience that he has to read all of the submitted entries before awarding Wilson with the sack of gold, and so the town soon learns that sixteen other men have written down the same phrase as both Wilson and Billson, making it obvious that Wilson—like the other Nineteeners—is lying in order to win money he doesn’t deserve.
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Lawyer Wilson Character Timeline in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

The timeline below shows where the character Lawyer Wilson appears in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Section 3
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
At another end of the hall, Lawyer Wilson also stands. “Why do you rise, Mr. Wilson?” Billson asks. “With great pleasure,” replies Wilson.... (full context)
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
...mayhem, the local tanner—who holds a grudge against the elite Nineteeners—points out that Billson’s and Wilson’s submissions aren’t exactly the same, since Billson’s note contains the word “very,” whereas Wilson’s does... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...phrase, the stranger reveals in this note, begins in the same way that Billson’s and Wilson’s submissions begin. However, it doesn’t stop there. Instead, the remark goes on to say: “…Go,... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
Outsiders and Insularity Theme Icon
As the town-hall celebrates Wilson’s victory, Burgess brings them to order once more, reminding them that they must reed the... (full context)
Vanity and Virtue Theme Icon
Revenge and Redemption Theme Icon
Guilt and Shame Theme Icon
...“gold” is nothing but a pile of “gilded disks of lead.” Wanting to humiliate Mr. Wilson, the tanner suggests that he step forward and receive the lead on behalf of his... (full context)