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Camelot! It's Only a Model

            Parody can be defined as the close imitation of a particular work for the purposes of ridicule or comedic effect (Merriam-Webster). With the conceptual understanding of parody as a genre, Monty Python and the Holy Grail takes the Arthurian tradition to a new level by mercilessly parodying its source material. The creators of Monty Python and the Holy Grail understood that of humor within Arthurian texts. "when it comes to the Arthurian legend, humor operates in a variety of ways. Episodes, character, and dialogue may be humorous recognizably, accidentally, intentionally, formerly, currently, functionally, surprisingly, subtly, broadly, ironically and barely humor and its uses – in all its various forms – has come to be appreciated as an important aspect of Arthuriana" (Armstrong). Various Arthurian texts, such as Geoffrey Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas, Mark Twain's A Medieval Romance, and The Defeat of Lucius and Arthur and the Devil Cat from the Prose Merlin, all contain various forms of humor, both intentionally and accidentally, that Monty Python and the Holy Grail chose to ridicule throughout the film. By drawing upon knowledge of Arthurian conventions, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a comedic masterpiece that exalts it source material (Neufeld).
             In Monty Python and the Holy Grail's film commentary, directors Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam discuss how many members of Monty Python dedicated their time to working with medieval literary traditions. "Most of the episodes that were taken really came from medieval stories and lore" (Neufeld). When analyzing the Monty Python characterization and storyline of Sir Robin "the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir Lancelot" it can be easily described as a direct parody to Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas. In Chaucer's work, Sir Thopas commands his minstrels to follow him around and to sing his praises to others.

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