Study Guide

Sir Dinadan in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

By Mark Twain

Sir Dinadan

Yet another knight from Camelot, Sir Dinadan isn't much different from Kay or Sagramor in the field… or maybe he is. We wouldn't know because we almost never see him anywhere but at the dinner table. He's actually one of the scariest monsters in the whole book: the boring dinner guest who tells long and pointless stories, and plays mean-spirited practical jokes that he thinks are hilarious:

He tied some metal mugs to a dog's tail and turned him loose… at which every man and woman of the multitude laughed till the tears flowed, and some fell out of their chairs and wallowed on the floor in ecstasy. It was just like so many children. (4.1)

The rest of the court thinks he's Will Ferrell in the flesh, but Hank finds him insufferable. His jokes are centuries old, after all, and Hank's heard them all before. Besides stressing what a gang of louts the supposedly noble court at Camelot actually is, Dinadan's jokes also offer a subtle reminder about why Hank is so much sharper than everyone else—with a six-centuries head start, he can see the developments and theories that literally haven't been invented yet.

Dinadan mostly serves as comic relief, and to point out how crude and vulgar Arthur's court is. He also decides that he's Hank's bestie—"He was always making up to me, because I was a stranger and he liked to have a fresh market for his jokes" (9.6)—which gets Hank into trouble when Sir Sagramor misinterprets Hank's muttered put-down as an insult. This makes Dinadan a danger as well as an irritation… though Twain still plays him for laughs. He ends up as little more than a punch line: after printing a book of his bad jokes, Hank has him killed.

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