Study Guide

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Dennis (Michael Palin)

Dennis (Michael Palin)

Dennis is a political thinker who's way ahead of his time. When Arthur calls him an old woman, Dennis is offended (and understandably so… not that there's anything wrong with being an old woman). When Arthur apologizes, Dennis insinuates that Arthur is talking down to him, making Arthur point out the fact that he is the king, so…

Uh-oh, not the right thing to say, Arthur. Once Dennis gets situated on his soapbox built on Marxist political views, there's no stopping him. He starts going off about how Arthur's position as king was obtained through:

DENNIS: […] exploiting the workers; by hanging on to our dated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.

Wow, Dennis is quite learned for a peasant. He even goes on to explain the peasants' anarcho-syndicalist government, which irks Arthur.

Dennis is certainly a parody of a typically oppressed peasant. He's portrayed as both angry about and accepting of his or her place as the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder. But it gets more interesting when we take a step back and survey his situation: he's… digging mud.

Why? It's unclear. He and his old lady are just sort of plopping it down in one place. Despite all his political mumbo-jumbo, he and his autonomous commune brethren are stuck digging in the dirt. Maybe Dennis isn't just a peasant parody but a larger political joke about inescapable medieval class distinctions and inherited privilege.

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