Yesterday, Dr. Roper incorporated this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail into Medieval Literature class in a meaningful way (which shows why I have taken four of his classes). It’s probably my favorite scene from the movie.
He said that the first assignment he gave to one Medieval Lit class was, “Describe what you think the term ‘medieval’ means off the top of your head.” Almost all of the responses had the words ‘filth’ or ‘filthy’ in them, and he was shocked at how little his students actually knew about this period. People might have lived primitively back then, but there were very organized and prosperous kingdoms with actual governments and strong gift economies.
Monty Python is always a good way to relieve some tension from finals, papers, projects, timelines, etc. due at the end of the semester.
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!