A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

by

Mark Twain

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Dowley is an affluent blacksmith in a small English village. He was orphaned as a child and had odd jobs until he attracted the attention of the old blacksmith, who took him on as an apprentice. In this way, Dowley’s story is a medieval version of an American self-determination, where a person who has nothing raises his status in the world through hard work and initiative. Dowley is proud of his success and happy to brag about it to Hank Morgan when mutual acquaintance Marco introduces the two men. But Hank shames Dowley by flaunting his own wealth during a dinner party he attends at Marco’s house. And when Hank then accidentally threatens Dowley while trying to make a point about the injustice of certain medieval English laws, the blacksmith attacks Hank in an act of self-preservation.

Dowley Quotes in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

The A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court quotes below are all either spoken by Dowley or refer to Dowley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
New World vs. Old World  Theme Icon
).
Chapter 32 Quotes

Self-made man, you know. They know how to talk. They do deserve more credit than any other breed of men, yes, that is true; and they are among the very first to find it out, too. He told how he had begun life an orphan lad without money and without friends able to help him; how he had lived as the slaves of the meanest master lived; how his day’s work was from sixteen to eighteen hours long, and yielded him only enough black bread to keep him in a half-fed condition; how his faithful endeavors finally attracted the attention of a good blacksmith, who came near knocking him dead with kindness by suddenly offering, when he was totally unprepared, to take him as his bound apprentice for nine years and give him board and clothes and teach him the trade—or “mystery” as Dowley called it.

Related Characters: Hank Morgan (speaker), King Arthur , Dowley
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

Well, I was smarting under a sense of defeat. Undeserved defeat, but what of that? That didn’t soften the smart any. And to think of the circumstances! The first statesman of the age, the capablest man, the best-informed man in the entire world, the loftiest uncrowned head that had moved through the clouds of any political firmament for centuries, sitting here apparently defeated in argument by an ignorant country blacksmith! And I could see that those others were sorry for me—which made me blush till I could smell my whiskers scorching. Put yourself in my place; feel as mean as I did, as ashamed as I felt—wouldn’t you have struck below the belt to get even? Yes, you would; it is simply human nature. Well, that is what I did. I am not trying to justify it; I’m only saying that I was mad, and anybody would have done it.

Related Characters: Hank Morgan (speaker), Dowley
Page Number: 251
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dowley Character Timeline in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

The timeline below shows where the character Dowley appears in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 31: Marco
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
The most interesting villager Hank meets is Dowley, the blacksmith. Dowley is wealthy (by village standards) and respected, and Hank invites him (and... (full context)
Chapter 32: Dowley’s Humiliation
New World vs. Old World  Theme Icon
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
On the day of the party, Hank encourages Dowley to talk about himself which, as a self-made man, he is only too happy to... (full context)
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
Dowley finishes boasting, and Phyllis starts to bring out the dinner equipment, starting with the table,... (full context)
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
...money-dispensing device of his own design) loaded with fifteen cents. Hank’s triumph is complete, and Dowley is “mashed.” For all his boasting, the entire cost of his family’s extravagances is only... (full context)
Chapter 33: Sixth-Century Political Economy
New World vs. Old World  Theme Icon
Imperialism  Theme Icon
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
Hank has humiliated Dowley. But his evidently great wealth has also earned the blacksmith’s respect. If Hank only had... (full context)
Imperialism  Theme Icon
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
But Dowley’s fails to understand that the value of money can vary from one kingdom to the... (full context)
Imperialism  Theme Icon
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
...public punishment) for leaving his job. But this information fails to have its intended effect; Dowley is horrified at the thought of an age in which there is so little respect... (full context)
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
...this failure. Isn’t it a shame, he asks, that he should be required to report Dowley for illegally paying his employees more than the going rate? Dowley and the others are... (full context)