This is when my job completely, totally is fantastic. Talking about “The Necklace” today in second period, class structure came up with a small group: this scene popped into my mind, the peasant scene from Monty Python/Holy Grail. When I saw it in high school it changed my life. Changed. My. Life. Yes – randomness. Segue from one of the great literary examples of irony to the classic parody of the King Arthur legends? Sure–and I made it look easy.
ARTHUR: Old woman! What knight lives in that castle over there?
ARTHUR: Man, sorry.
DENNIS: I’m thirty seven.
DENNIS: I’m thirty seven — I’m not old!
ARTHUR: Well, I can’t just call you `Man’.
DENNIS: Well, you could say `Dennis’.
ARTHUR: Well, I didn’t know you were called `Dennis.’
DENNIS: Well, you didn’t bother to find out, did you?
ARTHUR: I did say sorry about the `old woman,’ but from the behind you looked–
DENNIS: What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior!
ARTHUR: Well, I AM king…
DENNIS: Oh king, eh, very nice. An’ how’d you get that, eh? By exploitin’ the workers — by ‘angin’ on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic an’ social differences in our society! ….If there’s ever going to be any progress– Oh — how d’you do?
WOMAN: Dennis, there’s some lovely filth down here.
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Who’s castle is that?
WOMAN: King of the who?
ARTHUR: The Britons.
WOMAN: Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we’re all Britons and I am your king.
WOMAN: I didn’t know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS: You’re fooling yourself. We’re living in a dictatorship. ….. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes–
WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again.
DENNIS: That’s what it’s all about if only people would– Who lives in that castle?
ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste.
WOMAN: No one lives there.
ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?
WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.
DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
DENNIS: But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting.
ARTHUR: Yes, I see.
DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,–
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: –but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more–
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN: Order, eh — who does he think he is?
ARTHUR: I am your king!
WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.
WOMAN: Well, ‘ow did you become king then?
ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing]her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
DENNIS: Listen — strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! — HELP! HELP! I’m being repressed!
ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!
DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you hear that, eh?…. That’s what I’m on about — did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn’t you?