Just as a heads up: This is my first Literature course ever and I basically only think scientifically. Thus, my blog might make no sense whatsoever; so bare with me.
While reading “A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court”, Hank consistently refers to the Church. In the first paragraph of Chapter 17, the passage reads “I will say this much for the nobility; that, tyrannical, murderous, rapacious, and morally rotten as they were, they were deeply and enthusiastically religious. Nothing could divert them from the regular and faithful performance of the pieties enjoined by the Church. More than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage, stop to pray before cutting his throat; more than once I had seen a noble, after ambushing and dispatching his enemy, retire to the nearest wayside shrine and humbly give thanks, without even waiting to rob the body. There was to be nothing finer or sweeter in life of even Benvenuto Cellini, that rough-hewn saint, ten centuries later. All the nobles of Britain, with their families, attended divine service morning and night daily, in their private chapels, and even the worst of them had family worship five or six times a day besides. The credit of this belonged entirely to the Church. Although I was no friend to that Catholic Church, I was obliged to admit this. And often, in spite of me, I found myself saying, ‘What would this country be without the Church?’”.
I believe this passage is full of irony. Foremost, Hank says ‘What would this country be without the Church?’ Perhaps, Hank is finally noticing that 6th century Britain is dependent on the Church to a point where the Church is keeping moral in the people of Britain and keeping them away from being barbaric. On the other hand, Twain might be focusing more on trying to show how different 6th century Britain could be if it was like 19th century America with a separation of Church and State. One part of the passage states ‘More than once I had seen a noble who had gotten his enemy at a disadvantage, stop to pray before cutting his throat’. I’m sorry, but anyone that is truly religious is not going to have an enemy nor pray before killing someone. Therefore, if the Church wasn’t involved in the country, people might be killing left and right. However, if there was separation of Church and State, killing might not happen at all, at least to point where Hank will not see this situation happen more than once.
Furthermore, Hank notes ‘All the nobles of Britain, with their families, attended divine service morning and night daily, in their private chapels, and even the worst of them had family worship five or six times a day besides’. During this time period, the nobles were not the ones that needed to do all the praying. If anything, the ‘freemen’ needed to be praying. The ‘freemen’ were the ones catching diseases, working, starving, and all around living the hard life. But, we don’t hear any account of the ‘freemen’ praying. If 6th century Britain was more like 19th century America, there would be no nobility class and thus they would know the necessity of praying and actually meaning it. Hence, if there was separation of Church and State, as Twain is trying to say, there would be a democratic society which would eliminate the nobility.