Study Guide

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones)

Sir Bedevere (Terry Jones)

Wise Beyond Understanding

Bedevere is the token smart guy of the group. He's obviously the most learned man and quite experienced in the arts of science and subterfuge.

Well, maybe not subterfuge exactly. He almost gets the Trojan rabbit to work… he just forgets the middle part about actually getting inside the rabbit before sending it into the castle (although if they had, they would've gone for quite the ride, so maybe it was for the best).

He's also not the most articulate; he struggles to say "ni" to the poor old woman Arthur decides to torture for information. On top of that, he begins to harass Roger the Shrubber (also by saying "ni") when Roger's the very man that can provide what they need.

Okay, so maybe he's a parody of the wise knight. Maybe you're thinking the tree of knowledge that is his official crest should be cut down since he's as dumb as a stump.

Ah, but you've forgotten his wisest moment: the witch trial. Notice how, even before the scene properly begins, Bedevere's seen releasing a dove carrying a coconut. There are a few different ways to interpret this: maybe he's running some strange experiment and has imported the coconuts, giving us the explanation for how Arthur and Patsy found them.

Or, maybe he's heard of the most popular scientific question of the time: whether a swallow could carry a coconut. Dude's a scientific genius seeking answers—he's just using the wrong kind of bird. Anyone could make that same mistake.

Would Bedevere's Brain Weight the Same as a Duck?

At any rate, his true genius shines when the villagers bring him a witch to burn. He asks how they know she's a witch, and it turns out that, despite the clever disguise they made her wear, their only real evidence is a bit of circumstantial evidence about a villager being turned into a newt before quickly recovering.

Well, no need to fear, Bedevere the Wise is here with the Socratic method:

BEDEVERE: Tell me, what do you do with witches?

PEASANTS: Burn them!

BEDEVERE: And what do you burn apart from witches?

SECOND PEASANT: More witches!


BEDEVERE: Wood! So why do witches burn?

FIRST PEASANT: 'cause they're made of . . . wood?

BEDEVERE: Good! So how do you tell if she is made of wood?

PEASANTS: [Confused Silence]

BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?

PEASANTS: Nah, it don't. Nah, it . . . floats. It floats! Throw her into the pond!

BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?

PEASANTS: [Confused Silence]

ARTHUR: A duck.

BEDEVERE: Yes, exactly. So logically...?

PEASANTS: If she weighs the same as a duck. . . she's made of wood.

BEDEVERE: And therefore...

PEASANTS:...a witch!

Inescapable logic, right? You learn something new every day with Bedevere.

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