A Connecticut Yankee in king Arthur’s Court is a novel published in 1889 by Mark Twain, a humorist and a writer. It is about the tale of Hank Morgan a resident of Hartford in Connecticut in the 19th century. Hank, after a blow to his head travels back in time to medieval England during the reign of King Arthur. The novel kind makes fun of the modern society but the junk of it is satirical on the ideas of the middle age Europe. It brings out the people in Europe at that time as susceptible.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a 14th century novel about the adventure of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur’s table. In this tale, the Green Knight appears and challenges Sir Gawain to strike him with the axe only if he would take a return blow from the green knight in a year and a day. He strikes him with the axe and beheads him in a single blow but the green knight picks up his head and goes. The story is more of Sir Gawain’s adventure along the way to the appointment with Green Knight in a year and a day.
These adventures show the unwavering spirit of loyalty and gallantry that Gawain has. The physician by Noah Gordon is a novel about the life of an English boy, Rob Cole who is a Christian and travels through Europe in order to study medicine from the Muslims. Due to its Islamic nature, the book has not sold well in America understandably but has been impressive in Spain and Germany especially the translations. Rob’s parents die and he and the siblings are divided among those who would want them. He finds himself with a travelling barber cum surgeon who just known as barber.
He takes Rob as his apprentice and trains him on how to draw, juggle, entertainment and even sell patent nostrum. Most importantly he teaches Rob all he knows in medicine though not much. A Connecticut Yankee in king Arthur’s Court In a rather show of how ignorant the society was in this novel, Hank is about to be burnt at the stake for his strange appearance and dressing; the death date King Arthurs sets coincides with the historical solar eclipse. Hank uses this to convince the King and the subjects that he has powers and that he caused the solar eclipse to happen at the time he was to be burned.
He even says that he has the powers to blot out the sun completely thus the people believe him in amazement and awe and he is set free by the King. He is also appointed the principal minister to the king and treated with respect, something he could only dream of regarding the fact that he was supposed to be burning at the stake. The commoners and the king who thought to be very influential and powerful are duped into believing a glaring lie by an opportunistic Hank who was merely saving his life, as a result, he earns the reverence from the people and even referred to fondly by those people as “the Boss”.
King Arthur and the people fail the gullibility test from Hank. In what is a show of equality, with all the influence the Boss now had gained, he is still regarded by some people as equal because he is not a knight and has refused to join the ranks. He has no any form of nobility hence faces problems sometimes when people choose to realize that he is just equal to them. The society therefore has two sets of people; the noble and the commoners. The nobles such as knights are respected while the commoners are just that; common dogs.
With the advantage he has of the people, he learns about the medieval superstitions and takes over the sorcerers the church leaders. Superstition is therefore evident in this society that also claims to be Christian. Merlin, who was the king’s principal adviser and also the most powerful sorcerer becomes jealous of Hank for having lost his jobs. The expectant crowd waits with bated breath after the eclipse for Hank to perform another miracle, something Hank is incapable of. The superstitious society once again falls to Hanks lie when he secretly plants a gun powder and lightning rod, explosive charges in Merlins tower.
He challenges Merlin to stop the fire if he is the true sorcerer; this underlines the society’s dependent on sorcery in the running of the Kingdom. Merlin fails to prevent the fire planted by Hank and people believe Hank and Merlin’s reputation diminishes. Modernity was not allowed by the King apparently because it posed a threat to is reign, Hank therefore using his power sets up secret modern schools, hidden factories, modern tools and weapons and even teaches his assistant Clarence and trusts him with his secrets.
Hanks revolution is more of the conquest from within because he does these acts behind the higher authorities. This gradually drives to the periphery the medieval ideas and also industrializes the country. That the king was too ignorant or preoccupied with other things to realize the changes is open to debate. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight being a novel on the medieval culture, it tests on Gawain the adherence to code of chivalry and loyalty especially when Gawain had accepted the challenge from the Green knight.
A chain of tribulations that Gawain goes through are proofs of moral virtue of ‘keeping your word’. Gawain passes his tests that are of different nature, from the orders of his host to the promises he makes. The tests his host have for him, that he passes defines his survival though he does not even realize, he acts on pure luck and instinct. The theme of temptation is also depicted in Gawain’s strict adherence to laws of courtly love. He finds himself in a tight situation when he has to accept a girdle from fro the Lady though he also promised his host to that he will give out whatever he earns that day.
Being a respectful and courteous, he decides to keep the girdle in honor of the Lady. There is a demonstration here of the conflict between honor and duties of a knight. With a critical view of this section, one realizes that in the then society, reasoning took a back seat and all that mattered was following the orders or duties by the authorities. Rational thinking was something one could not think off especially the knight because Gawain would not have been in the fix in choosing what to do between accepting the girdle and giving all that he received that day.
He feels very bad by breaking his promise and feels very bad that he has lost his honors and failed in his duties where as he should be considerate that he has honored the lady. He actually accepts the girdle for fear of death rather than honor the lady thus pointing out clearly the hypocrisy that thrived in this society. The physician In this novel the Christianity of Rob is brought out more prominently in his journey from London to Constantinople. Though while in Constantinople and socializing with Jewish merchants he remains a staunch Christian but open to other cultures.
Rob encounters problems in Persia trying to get into a medical school; this is because they do not accept Christians in those schools. This here brings to the fore the religion factor in those days where religion discrimination was practiced. As it is in the book, this almost caused Rob his medical career. This would have gone on later to affect the society as a whole since we Rob going on to become a war surgeon to the armies of Shah.
This is when he was travelling with the Shah’s armies while carrying out his practicum. As an asset to the society, Rob passes as physician helps in teaching the new physicians in the school. Rob makes friends among the Muslims students of the school thus showing very strongly the character of Rob as being very accommodative. He realizes that it is important to work in liaison with other people despite their religious affiliations. He even guises himself as a Jewish student to aid in travelling Persia and getting to study. The Barbaric nature of the medieval Europe is brought out clearly with the way there used to be wars and conquering the kingdoms.
Isfahan is conquered by a king after the death of Avicenna in what potentially led to rape and pillage that Rob and his wife flee. It shows that all that mattered was power and influence, a fact that portrays the backwardness and lack of civilization in the society back then. Rob becomes the war surgeon of the Shah’s armies when they go to fight and conquer thus depicts that kings and rulers were selfish and wanted to conquer more territories to improve their influences in Europe.
In many occasions, they lead to blood bath lootings that draws back the society more than develop it. Rob shows hunger for knowledge when Barber, his guardian dies as he sets out to look for more knowledge in medicine by withstanding all the setbacks striving to get a school and further his studies in medicine. A Jewish physician in Malmesbury helps him by telling him of schools in Cordoba, Tledo and even Persia. He realizes that what Barber taught him in medicine is insufficient thus he strives for more.
Though he could have made a life out of the other skills Barber imparted on him like storytelling, juggling, drawing, entertaining the crowds; he chooses to go for his passion to help save lives that is actually what he does later on by being an important physician. Contrast and Comparison These three books all in the set up of the medieval European societies have Christianity as the backbone though not so effective in some cases.
For instance, in the A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, it is a Christian society but heavily dependent on sorcery. This makes them fall to he stunt of Hank who grabs the opportunity and saves himself. Rob in the Physician who is a Christian undergoes discrimination in his quest to expand his medical knowledge when he is denied chance to join schools in Constantinople. In sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Christian society is oppressive since they believe in nothing else than the orders of the authorities and that is why Gawain has to respond to orders, some even ridiculous in order to save his life and honor. This way, it is right to say that Christianity does not play its part in liberating the people and empowering them.
The setting of the three books is also a very important note because it lets the modern world know how the medieval society looked like. Many people will look back at that time in Europe and realize that we have come a long way in embracing modernity and civilization. For instance, in the A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Hank embarked on civilizing the country secretly but from within using his powers he cunningly acquired. The leaders and the rulers of Europe at that time were afraid of civilization that also included education and empowerment because people would stage an uprising and dethroning them.
All the education imparted to the people was carefully done as in the case of the physician, Rob became a very useful surgeon but served to the Shah’s interest, helping the armies in their wars to conquer other territories. Also the fear of betrayal is what made Hank choose carefully who he lets into his secret schools and factories. Oppression of the common people is also a clear theme depicted in all the three books showing how oppressive European societies in the medieval period.
Hank was almost killed for looking strange in his appearance and dress and only survived through his wits. He later worked towards civilizing the people and empowering the society against oppression. Rob overcomes the hardships of life on his way to be the physician and here we realize that the societal tenets were somewhat against him but only his persistence and endurance made him overcome all the hurdles to be able to work towards the betterment of the same oppressive society by becoming a surgeon.
Sir Gawain is taught by the society to always follow the rules strictly even if they made no sense. In the instance of the girdle from the Lady, he receives the girdle and keeps it despite the promise he made to give out everything he received. He does this for fear of being killed since receiving and keeping the girdle was an honor to the lady. He goes against his promises thus losing his own honor.