Hank is the Connecticut Yankee, a self-assured factory superintendent who knows how to make anything. When given power over sixth-century England, he uses it to improve society in the American industrial model, using a combination of technical know-how, flash, and ultimately the threat of violence to achieve his end. His strength is in creating impressive "effects"miracles and wonderswith his scientific knowledge to gain the respect and awe of the people. He goes to great lengths and risks to do everything with flair, showmanship and over-the top-style. He wants to create a democracy and rails against the backwards injustices he sees. He does what he does in the name of the people and is ostensibly a humanitarian, but it is often in a grand, visionary sense rather than a personal one. He considers himself superior to everyone in Arthur's England, and looks down on that society as children at best and animals at worst. However, he grows to respect the human aspects of Arthur and his court, and even marries and has a family in the sixth century.
The young page who befriends Hank when he first appears as a prisoner in Arthur's court. He trusts and respects Hank like a mentor and father, and becomes his right-hand man. Clarence is trained in Hank's modern ways and helps run the budding network of factories, telephone lines, and schools that make-up the new civilization. He helps Hank achieve his effects and saves him from dire situations. During the Battle of the Sand-Belt, it is Clarence who organizes and outfits the war as Hank would have done it himself. He is the ultimate apprentice and faithful sidekick who loyally hides his boss's body and finishes his memoirs.
Rather than the mysterious and powerful sorcerer of Arthurian legend, Twain's Merlin is an old and worn charlatan, impotent against Hank's science and technology. Despite his presentation as a useless old fogy, Merlin nevertheless represents the power of superstition and the old way of life in Arthur's England, thus he is Hank's main rival. In each challenge however, Hank wins with flair. Merlin's magic works only once in the storywhen he succeeds in sending Hank back to the future by putting him in a magical sleep.
Sandy (Demoiselle Alisande de la Carteloise)
The damsel in distress that is assigned to Hank as he seeks out adventures. She is talkative, conversing "as steady as a mill." In one episode, Hank calls her "the mother of the German language" because of her interminable sentences. She believes that she has been sent to rescue forty-four maidens from an Ogre's Castle, but when she and Hank find it, the castle is only a pigsty with a bunch of hogs in it, a grave display of the power of superstition. Hank marries her out of a sense of embarrassment (she cannot leave him until another knight vanquishes him) but grows to love and adore her.
The Arthur of Twain's novel is as brave, 'kingly' and steadfast as the Arthur of legend, but is outshone and outdone by Hank's intelligence and education. Hank considers him at first to be no more than an 'artificiality,' a big child who knows only foolish jousting and knight-errantry. But as the book progresses, he comes to respect his golden character. Eventually, despite his hatred of titled nobility, Hank recognizes that there is something about Arthur that makes him great even when he is stripped of his crown and kingly accoutrementsHank calls this characteristic his manliness.
Arthur's most brave and powerful knight. Lancelot has an affair with Guenevere that eventually becomes the downfall of the kingdom. In Hank's new civilization he sits on the Stock Board.
Sir Sagramore le Desirous
The knight who challenges Hank to armed combat after mistaking an insult meant for another knight as being directed at him. He leaves to search for the Holy Grail for over four years before coming back to pursue his challenge.
Morgan Le Fay
A wicked and cold-hearted Queen who harbors Hank and Sandy for two days while they traveled to the Ogre's Castle. During their stay, Hank forces her to release her prisoners and saves an old woman from her vengeful hand.
King Arthur's nephew who is responsible for the eventual discovery of Launcelot's and Guenevere's adultery.
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court Questions and Answers
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It was a desperate place for him to be in, and might cost him his life, but it was no use to argue with him. If he considered his knightly honor at stake here, that was the end of argument; he would stay, and nothing could prevent...
“There’s no use in beating about the bush and trying to get around it that way, Sandy, it’s so , just as I say. I know it’s so. And, moreover, when you come right down to the bedrock, knight-errantry is worse than pork; for whatever...
Study Guide for Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court study guide contains a biography of Mark Twain, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
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