Study Guide

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Chapter 7

By Mark Twain

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Chapter 7

Merlin's Tower

  • Having established himself as prime minister, the Yankee reflects on the primitive state of affairs in Camelot, devoid of any inventions or useful objects. He's gonna change all that.
  • Everyone in the kingdom wants to see him, forcing him to address the gathered crowds a dozen times a day. Apparently celebrity lookee-loos exist no matter what the era.
  • The people begin asking for a repeat miracle, something the Yankee can't immediately produce; Clarence reports that Merlin is starting rumors that the Yankee is a fraud.
  • The Yankee has Merlin thrown in the dungeon—presumably for the crime of general jerkiness—then comes up with a plan: He claims that in two weeks, he will destroy Merlin's tower.
  • He enlists Clarence for help and the two conspire to build a lightning rod, wiring, and several bushels of gunpowder. They plant the powder in Merlin's tower at night—scattered in batches throughout the walls—then embed the lightning rod. Then they wait for a thunderstorm to arise, which naturally takes its sweet time in showing up.
  • A crowd gathers on the appointment day, and Hank the Yank calls for Merlin to be sent to him so he can tell him he's going to blow up his tower.
  • Lightning strikes the tower, igniting the gunpowder and destroying the building completely.
  • Arthur wants to banish Merlin, but the Yankee intervenes and claims he'll be useful for small chores. Too kind, Yankee, too kind.
  • He also has Merlin's tower rebuilt and suggests the wizard "take on boarders," which makes Shmoop kind of wonder about why he destroyed Merlin's tower in the first place.

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