A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Context

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Context

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

This novel written by Mark Twain is sometimes called the “Don Quixote vice versa”. This comparison indeed has something in it. The engineer from the Mark Twain’s time, Hank Morgan, is somehow transported to the times of King Arthur. But unlike Don Quixote, the last knight errant, Morgan considers himself the only pragmatic man in the land of hopeless romantics. He immediately pretends to be the most powerful magician in the world, using the naivete of the locals and the knowledge of his century - but gradually his arrogance wears out and Hank starts to see real people behind the shiny facade…

This story is a comedy which mocks the knightly ideals that contradict the oppressive nature of feudalism and medieval monarchy. The hypocrisy and the self-righteousness of the knights make them perfect laughingstocks for readers, but later throughout the story we see that Mark Twain is still faithful to his iconic genre - social satire. The character of Hank Morgan isn’t less arrogant and hypocritical as the knights. He is a typical American, who is completely sure that he knows best - but using the knowledge he was taught in the modern society doesn’t make him either omniscient or always right. Hank starts to realize that his upbeat optimism isn’t enough to fight fate and change history. He develops personal feelings towards the inhabitants of the medieval world, starting to see them as his equals - that makes the inevitable only harder to accept. Morgan also sees the flaws of his own beloved democracy he tried to implement into King Arthur’s society so hard.

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is a brilliant book about social and political flaws - but also it is a story about human virtues that remain the same across all time periods.

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