Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|
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ONLINE ANALYSIS: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT
Sir Dinaden is the first to wake up after hearing Merlin’s tale. He
tries to amuse the courtiers with his buffoonery. First, he ties metal
mugs to the tail of a dog and lets it loose. As the dog runs around barking,
other dogs start chasing it. This game provokes laughter in the crowd.
Then Dinaden starts cracking stale jokes that Hank Morgan remembers from
his own childhood. Shortly afterward, Sir Kay presents Morgan to the courtiers.
He relates the events leading to his conquest of the oddly dressed Morgan.
Everyone views Morgan with curiosity as he is condemned to die. Merlin
orders his men to remove the clothes of the strange prisoner before taking
him to the dungeon.
The knights of the medieval age, instead of discussing important matters of state or developmental projects, narrate stories of conquests and adventure. The stories are repetitive and highly exaggerated. Sometimes when they are bored of hearing an old story, they sleep off in front of everyone without feeling embarrassed about it. Etiquette and propriety are familiar to them. Most of the games of amusement are childish and the jokes are stale. Still they provide entertainment to the courtiers. The authorial suggestion is that people of this ancient and revered time are simpletons who derive pleasure out of base and uncomplicated things.
Mark Twain provides the first of many significant contrasts between the way
of life of the people of the medieval age and attitude of the modern man.
In the sixth century, men and women are crude and uncivilized, but they
are also refreshingly simple. They wear simple garments made of natural
fibers and are amazed at the clothes of the modern man to the point that
they order him to strip so they may gaze in wonder at his discarded garments.
Morgan, a product of prudish Victorian England, is scandalized by the
attitude of these people, who consider such behavior normal. When the
ladies of the court view his legs and comment, Morgan is embarrassed.
Modesty and shame, unknown to the people of the sixth century, make up
the armor of the nineteenth century man.
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. 09 May 2017