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Free Study Guide for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
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OVERALL ANALYSES

CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Hank Morgan

He is the Connecticut Yankee whose experiences in the court of King Arthur are related in all but the first and last chapters of the novel. He is the stranger whom Mark Twain meets at Warwick Castle, who has lived in the sixth century and written about his life then.

He is an enterprising man, quick to think on his feet. He has a good memory for details, such as when he recalls the solar eclipse that will enable him to get out of a bad predicament. In the nineteenth century, he was a jack-of-all-trades, and the diverse array of knowledge he possesses will help him do many things in the sixth century. Morgan is far superior in his intellect and knowledge compared to the inhabitants of Camelot. He uses his knowledge of history and science to capture the heart of the King and his subjects, and to persuade them that he is a great magician who knows the future. He has great aptitude for inventing things and his mechanical skills help him establish his identity as a great modernizer in an uncivilized country.

When Merlin questions his credibility, Morgan decides to teach the magician a lesson by blowing up his tower. He is fiercely competitive and proud. His ideals are not flawless; he believes in superstition as long as it benefits him, but no one else. He encourages the people to shed themselves of superstitious behaviors except those that make them think he is a great magician. His pride is his downfall. He alienated the people of Camelot by acting superior in wealth and intelligence, and by pushing too hard for things for which society is not yet prepared.

He appears all along to reject the backward crudeness of Camelot and prefer instead the industry and technology of the nineteenth century. But in the end, as he is dying, he reveals his true calling, which is to be in the purity of Camelot, the place his progressive ideas destroyed.

Clarence

Clarence is Hank Morgan's creative and enterprising assistant. He is friendly and helpful by nature. In court, he familiarizes Morgan with the customs of the court and warns him about his punishment. Later, he acts as Morgan's messenger and informs the King about the stranger's powers as a magician. And finally, he is responsible for saving Morgan's life and establishing his position in court.


Clarence is a precocious student who learns fast and duly puts them into practice. Morgan trains him in the art of writing articles and later makes him the editor of their newspaper. Clarence carries on his job very well and releases the first edition of the paper to the satisfaction of the Boss. In the absence of his master, he brings out a war-edition of the paper which records the events taken place in Camelot before the war between the King and Launcelot. Like a faithful employee of the Boss, he performs his duties meticulously. Finally, after his master is wounded in the Battle of the Sand Belt, he completes the accounts of the experiences of the Boss leading to his death in the manuscript.

Clarence remains a trustworthy friend and loyal servant of the Boss till the end. Whenever Morgan finds himself in a fix or needs assistance, he turns to the boy for help and Clarence raises up to the occasion. When the Boss needs equipment and men to help him block the leak in the well at the Holy Valley, he gets the required help from Clarence. Later, it is Clarence who gives his master the information about the King's visit to the Valley that the Boss relates as a prediction to the monks at the Valley. When Morgan is abroad and the church issues an Interdict, Clarence comes to terms with the situation and makes preparation to face an encounter with the knights. In a matter of three months, he equips the Merlin's cave as an army control room and connects it up with all their other institutions. Clarence thus acts as an efficient deputy of the Boss. And finally, when Morgan is wounded, Clarence attends to his master's needs and brings him back to health. After the death of the Boss, it is Clarence who buries the body of his master in a secluded corner of the cave. Clarence acts like a faithful servant and companion of the Boss till the end.

King Arthur

Arthur, the chivalrous King of medieval legends, is admired by the knights for his prowess and respected by the church and his subjects for his loyalty to his country. He is a true representative of the medieval age, believing in the sanctity of the church and the superiority of the nobility. However, though traditional in his outlook, he is broad-minded enough to eventually accept the progressive ideas of the Boss.

Arthur is simple and superstitious. He believes the words of Morgan when the latter informs him that he is a magician who can work miracles. He accepts all the conditions of the stranger and offers him the post of a "perpetual minister" in his court if he will bring light again. Later, after Sir Sagramour challenges the Boss to encounter him in the field, Arthur asks Morgan to undertake a tour around the countryside to make himself tough enough to face the chivalrous knight.

Arthur presents himself as a portrait of contradictions. He is regal in his manner but willingly tries to act as a humble peasant. He considers himself to be the master of the land but is prepared to play the part of a student to the Boss. He upholds the laws of the land but condemns the injustice done to the poor woman. He asserts his right as a King on many occasions during their travel but insists on staying in the dirty hut of a poor woman stricken with Small-pox.

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