Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|
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FREE STUDY GUIDE: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHURíS COURT
Since science has not yet made its advent in the 6th century, the common
people have no base of knowledge on which to identify an eclipse. Morgan
uses science to defend himself from his superstitious enemies, performing
the first miraculous feat that will convince the people to listen to him.
He gains credibility and thus influence by lying to the people. Later,
he will use his credibility and influence to teach the people not to be
After Clarence delivers Morganís threat to cover the world with darkness, the Yankee is assailed with doubts. He is afraid that he has made a mistake with the dates. To add to his confusion, messengers soon arrive to take him to the stake for execution. When questioned, he is told the execution orders have been moved up a day. Morgan feels helpless to free himself from bondage when a real miracle occurs. Darkness slowly envelops the sky. People shout in horror as Merlin asks for a torch. Though Morgan is relieved, he is also puzzled, since he remembered clearly the date of the eclipse. He discovers it is June 21, not the 20th. Clarence had made a mistake about the date earlier. His powers ďprovedĒ, Morgan is spared.
The King believes the calamity to be the outcome of Morganís magical
powers and asks him to name his terms for lifting the darkness. Morgan
buys time by pondering over the Kingís offer, finally giving his answer
when it is quite dark. He asks the King to make him his minister and provide
him with adequate compensation. The King agrees to the terms and also
orders a set of clothes for Morgan as per his wishes. To postpone giving
an answer till the eclipse is complete, Morgan asks the King to reconsider
his decision. After the King confirms his offer, and when Morgan realizes
the eclipse is almost up, he throws his arms toward the sky and orders
light. Slowly the rim of the sun becomes visible. People cheer and bless
This chapter introduces the first scene of dramatic intensity in the story. The chapter opens with a cloud of doubt as Morgan is sentenced to die and has begun to doubt he can save himself. This is followed by a momentary hope, quickly doused when the sentinel arrives to take him to the stake. His only hope for survival is threatened by the earlier date encouraged by Clarence, who truly believes in Morganís magic and therefore wants to save him a day earlier. As apprehension builds, darkness suddenly begins to envelop the sky. Convenience again thrusts the novel forward.
Science and superstition are in confrontation. Ironically, Morgan has often
scoffed superstition in the past, but now uses it to save his life. Where
his narrative had once mocked the knights for telling lies, now he himself
tells an outrageous lie. Already his Yankee customs are conforming, however
slightly, to the medieval way of survival.
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. 09 May 2017