Study Guide: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court|
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ONLINE SUMMARY: A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHURíS COURT
The Boss finds himself in court. He tells the court he is the slave of an Earl whose illness has brought him to the city in search of a good physician. There, he was challenged to fight the adversary whom he was imprisoned for fighting with. The judge, believing him to be the servant of a noble man, fails to question him further and eventually releases him.
He immediately goes to the slave quarters, only to find the place deserted
except for the corpse of the slave master. He learns the slaves have revolted,
killing their master and escaping. All the slaves have been caught and
sentenced to die. The Boss, realizing the risk to the King and himself,
acts fast. He disguises himself and contacts Clarence on the telephone,
asking him to send a rescue party to save the King. As he walks out, a
slave recognizes him and helps the guards apprehend him. In prison, he
is informed that the execution is to take place immediately.
Morgan escapes from one trap only to be led into another. In the beginning
of the chapter, The Boss uses his knowledge of the bias of the court toward
nobility and succeeds in escaping. Later, when he realizes the risk involved
to his own life, he disguises himself and sends a message to Clarence
for help. When he is caught, he tries to earn the support of the slave.
Once again, however, his plan misfires. Instead of being influenced by
The Boss, the slave is enraged. He blames The Boss for the pending execution.
Because of The Boss, the slaves escaped and are now being punished while
he, the instigator, is free. The Boss, who had prided himself for his
superior intellect, is unable to escape from the clutches of the simple
The slaves are taken to the scaffold at four in the afternoon. When
the chains of the prisoners are removed, the King tries to assert his
identity but fails to evoke a favorable response. The execution begins.
After the first three slaves are hanged, it is the King who has to face
execution. Morgan appears helpless to save the King. At that moment, Sir
Launcelot and his contingent enter the scaffold. They beat up the sheriff
and the executioners before releasing the King and their much beloved
Boss. Clarence is happy to have trained the knights in cycling, explaining
that that is how they arrived so quickly
The scene where the King asserts his identity in front of a jeering crowd resembles the scene in The Prince and the Pauper, where Edward Tudor acts regally in front of an unruly mob when Miles Hendon is punished. The King raves and rants but is silenced by the rowdy crowd. Then three of the slaves are mercilessly executed and the King watches the scene with horror. As Morgan fails miserably to rescue the King, Sir Launcelot and his army enter the arena and heroically save the distressed King and his companion. The scene closes quite happily, with a melodramatic fairy tale conclusion.
King Arthurís miserable experience as a slave changes him dramatically, causing
him to condemn slavery. Similarly, his close encounter with death at the
scaffold makes him aware of the horrors of capital punishment. He then
promises to abolish the cruel practice. Through this novel and The
Prince and the Pauper, Twain reveals
that experience alone can make a leader understand the plight of his subjects
and reverse the past mistakes.
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. 09 May 2017