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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: An Analytical Essay

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It might seem strange that Mark Twain would switch from "straight" fiction into the realm of complete fantasy, however, Twain transports Hank Morgan, the foreman of a Connecticut factory, twelve centuries into the past and into King Arthur's court at Camelot. In writing this novel, Twain expresses his own views, opinions and general distaste about the social and economic inequality that had previously existed in Great Britain through Hank Morgan, the protagonist. While at first confused and afraid, Hank Morgan is quick to use his knowledge and intelligence to become a major figure among the kingdoms officials. With the title of The Boss(given by the people throughout the kingdom), his power rivals that of the King or the Pope. His rapid gain in power doesn't distract him from his more profound desire: complete social reformatory within the kingdom. Ultimately he wants to do away with the monarchy and aristocracy, establishing an American-style republic in Arthurian Britain.

Mark Twain's periodical criticism of a hereditary monarchy bolstered even more so with an Established Church, makes this one Twain's prize writings. He resents the condition of a Church which "turned a nation of men into a nation of worms." A fervent believer in an individuals choice of freedom, Twain uses Hank to voice his contempt of Britain's royalty. Hank knows that his revolution will never succeed if implemented from above but only if the revolution would only succeed when the individual's attitude changes from meager acceptance to self assertion. Hank's method reaches people through clandestine schools and factories, establishment of a telephone system and even the publication of a newspaper. With these new forms of communication, education and manufacturing, Hank sets the foundation by which he hopes to eventually be able to abolish the aristocratic system as well as the caste system.

Twain moves the roots of American-style democracy from the mind of America's founding fathers to the mind of an urban industrial worker. Hank has a plain and simple ambition: the establishment of a republic. Hank utilizes a large spectrum of ideas to bring it about, saying that he would gladly replace the current established church with his own democratic ideals on the subject, claiming "Each man should select his own religion, or make one". This shows how Mark Twain believed that each man should have freedom or at least the opportunity to obtain it. Twain's mistrust and distaste for Great Britain permeates through the novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, suggesting that American-style democracy is the best way to govern the peoples of the world.



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