The novel's tone shifts between humor, satire, cynicism, and social commentary. Twain uses humor to entertain the reader while poking fun at the various traditions, customs, and conventions Hank Morgan encounters.
The novel's protagonist Hank Morgan narrates the novel, and his tone is often authoritative and passionate, especially when he offers his critiques of medieval England as well as his opinions on society and government. This can be seen in the below passage from Chapter 13:
My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags—that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it.
Hank expresses a fervent loyalty to the concept of one's country while also critiquing blind allegiance to institutions. Hank's use of the world "real" in the phrases "the real thing," "the substantial thing," and "the eternal thing" also underscores his intense commitment to the ideal of truth.