Study Guide

Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sir Lancelot (John Cleese)

Sir Lancelot (John Cleese)

Lance-a-lot

Okay, maybe Lancelot doesn't use a lance, but he certainly does stick his sword through a lot of people. Lancelot's definition of brave looks a bit barbaric… even by 932 AD standards.

The first time we see him in action is when Arthur orders a charge on the French castle. There's a quick shot of him stabbing the castle wall—he's literally hitting the enormous stone façade with his sword. That's Lancelot for you. After the retreat, he has to be verbally restrained by Arthur when he says angrily, "Fiends, I'll tear them apart."

The next time we see Lancelot is actually in Galahad's story. Galahad has just started to get on quite well with the lovely ladies of Castle Anthrax when Lancelot has to burst in and threaten them all with his sword (and not even in a euphemistic Shakespearean kind of way). Lancelot believes Galahad is in great peril… but we're thinking Lancelot's bravery was a bit misplaced this time around.

In fact it's… always misplaced. In one scene, Lancelot slaughters countless guards and wedding guests, none of whom are even fighting back. Then he starts slicing right and left, killing more guards who are just standing there—even the poor confused guard in Herbert's room. The hack-happy Lancelot tries explaining to the father that he can't control himself:

SWAMP CASTLE KING: You only killed the bride's father, you know.

LANCELOT: Well, I didn't mean to.

SWAMP CASTLE KING: Didn't mean to? You put your sword right through his head.

LANCELOT: Oh dear…is he all right?

And as soon as they go back down the stairs, he starts carving people up again.

Later, Lancelot's happy to be the first to take the bridge single-handed. He says he will "make a feint to the north-east… and then attack from the south" but Arthur has to stop him and explain he simply has to answer a few questions; he doesn't have to kill anybody.

Lancelot makes it across the bridge, but he's apprehended with the others by policemen investigating the murder of the historian. While Arthur and Bedevere's arrest seems out of place, we think Lancelot has a lot to answer for.

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