Monty Python’s King Arthur skit is full of structuralism dogma breaking moments. This analysis focuses on the first scene of the movie. The scene utilizes pre-conceived notions of movie structure, the publics’ awareness about leaders and prominent figures and the acknowledgement of the existence of life among cast extras to create a satirical adaptation of King Arthur’s quest for the Holy Grail.
As the scene begins we hear the hooves of a horse coming from beyond the mist around the castle. The viewer, exposed to several scenes that reflect this setting in previous movies, expects to see someone riding a horse about to emerge, instead it is King Arthur and his servant that appear; both lacking horses. “Out of the mist walks King Arthur followed by a servant who is banging two coconuts together” (499). King Arthur makes a stop sign and the servant is seen halting as if he were a horse. The viewer realizes that the servant holding the coconut halves was pretending to be an actual horse. “Servant makes noises of horse halting with a flourish” (499). This obvious break from traditional script writing and prop use highlights the general expectation for viewers to assume what is about to occur and in which manner. In this excerpt the viewer expects to be shown a horse because he is fooled into thinking there would be one present. In reality it was just a man clapping two coconut halves to imitate the sound of hooves.
Right after this scene, a soldier guarding a castle’s battlements comes into view. Here the soldier and King Arthur have a conversation where King Arthur introduces himself to a non-believing soldier:
SOLDIER: Halt! Who goes there?
ARTHUR: It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot.
King of all Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!
SOLDIER: Get away!
ARTHUR: It bloody well is… (499)
This brings to light how unaware and ill-informed the people were during Arthurian times of the royals and other prominent figures. One can also consider the role rumors and myths had during that time; hence the soldier was hard pressed to believe he was really talking to the famed King Arthur. The soldier appeared not to be convinced of Arthur’s identity because of how he appeared at the castle. Kings do not...