A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

by

Mark Twain

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Feudalism Term Analysis

Feudalism was the dominant social and political system in medieval Europe. Roughly speaking, a feudal system is a pyramid-shaped organization of society that emphasizes relationships of reciprocal responsibility. Under this system, the royal family, the Church, and members of the nobility owned land which they allowed their social underlings, or vassals, to use. The lords were supposed to protect their vassals from danger. In exchange, a vassal owed his or her lord obedience and tax revenue. In practice, the system was open to abuses of power on the part of the nobility, and it concentrated power and wealth in a very small range of society.

Feudalism 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 Feudalism or refer to Feudalism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 2 Quotes

I was not the only prisoner present […]. Poor devils, many of them were maimed, hacked, carved, in a frightful way; and their hair, their faces, their clothing, were caked with black […] blood. They were suffering sharp physical pain […] and weariness, and hunger and thirst, no doubt; and at least none had given them the comfort of a wash, or even the poor charity of a lotion for their wounds; yet you never heard them utter a moan or a groan, or saw them show any sign of restlessness, or any disposition to complain. The thought was forced upon me: “The rascals—they have served other people so in their day; it being their own turn, now, they were not expecting any better treatment than this; so their philosophical bearing is not an outcome of mental training, intellectual fortitude, reasoning; it is mere animal training; they are white Indians.”

Related Characters: Hank Morgan (speaker), Sir Kay, King Arthur
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

They were the quaintest and simplest and trustingest race; why, they were nothing but rabbits. It was pitiful for a person born in a wholesome free atmosphere to listen to their humble and hearty outpourings of loyalty toward their king and Church and nobility; as if they had any more occasion to love and honor king and Church and noble than a slave has to love and honor the lash, or a dog has to love and honor the stranger that kicks him! Why, dear me, any kind of royalty, howsoever modified, any kind of aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never find it out for yourself, and don’t believe it when someone else tells you.

Related Characters: Hank Morgan (speaker), King Arthur
Page Number: 53-54
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Chapter 39 Quotes

So the world thought there was a vast matter at stake here, and the world was right, but it was not the one they had in their minds. No, a far vaster one was upon the cast of this die: the life of knight-errantry. I was a champion, it was true, but not the champion of the frivolous black arts, I was the champion of hard unsentimental common sense and reason. I was entering the lists to either destroy knight-errantry or be its victim.

Related Characters: Hank Morgan (speaker), Sir Sagramore, Merlin
Page Number: 293-294
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 40 Quotes

The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it. The eyes of the whole harried world would soon be fixed upon this humane and gentle system, and royal butchers would presently begin to disappear; their subjects would fill the vacancies with catlings from our own royal house; we should become a factory; we should supply the thrones of the world; within forty years all Europe would be governed by cats, wand we should furnish the cats. The reign of universal peace would begin then, to end no more forever…M-e-e-e-yow-ow-ow—fzt—wow!

Related Characters: Clarence (speaker), Hank Morgan , Sir Sagramore
Related Symbols: Factories
Page Number: 305
Explanation and Analysis:
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Feudalism Term Timeline in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

The timeline below shows where the term Feudalism appears in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 33: Sixth-Century Political Economy
New World vs. Old World  Theme Icon
Imperialism  Theme Icon
Superiority, Power, and Authority Theme Icon
...the talk turns to the wages under the local king—whose lands are governed by the feudal or “protection” system—compared to the wages in Camelot, where “free trade” flourishes. Dowley and his... (full context)