Magic Vs. Technology In A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court By Mark Twain

633 words - 3 pages

Magic vs. TechnologyA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain met with mixed reviews when it was published in 1889. The British especially took offense at the novel, feeling that it may damage their history and culture and dishonor the ideals of King Arthur and his Round Table. Others called it a triumph, full of genuine insight and sensitivity to social injustices throughout the ages. Many critics call attention to the cynical ending as evidence of Twain's own disappointment with the promises of technology and progress as a result of his financial difficulties. Nonetheless, in the novel Hank is a firm supporter of the technology who opposes passionately to the idea of superstition and false magic, proposed by Merlin.In the book, Merlin represents superstition, fake magic and the old order while Hank is the supporter of "the magic of scienc ...view middle of the document...

Thus using nineteenth century knowledge, Hank wins the title "The Boss", because no one else is as good as him in creating "magic" (technology) and in governing the "new" inventions. These are the reasons why the people adore the Connecticut Yankee and even come to see him as if he is an extraordinary miracle to which they must humble. Hank's popularity among the people worries Merlin, who tries to humiliate the Yankee wherever there is a chance.But in proclaiming the eclipse and in the restoration of the Holy Fountain, Hank uses the same trust on superstition that Merlin does against him. However, in comparison to Merlin's failure with superstition, Hank succeeds with the help of technology. Although Merlin appears to be soundly defeated each time he challenges Hank's authority, he gets the last laugh as Hank's civilization destroys itself.Hank's 'industrial miracles' can be just as manipulative as Merlin's tricks. Before the Yankee comes to sixth century, probably Merlin was gladly enjoying the success he had from the tricks he performed with many effects. However, when Hank came and presented much more outstanding and remarkable "tricks", Merlin's fame disappeared and his influence over the people vanished. Hank, on the other hand, became more powerful using his cunning mind and technology advances such as fire-works and bombs for impressing the audience.In the battle of technology against magic in this novel, the first wins most of the victories. However, Hank is defeated in the last combat with Merlin. Dressed as an old woman Merlin successfully enters the dugout of Hank, Clarence and the army that fought against the knights. A miracle or luck brings Merlin to the first magic he fulfilled successfully. Thus he puts Hank to sleep for 1300 years. The conviction that technology is more powerful than any supernatural power is today's view. Nonetheless, the ending of the novel makes us revise this belief and ask the question "Is technology really greater than magic?"


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