Monty Python And The Search For The
Holy Grail As A Satire Essay, Research Paper
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a hilarious satire of the Crusades. The movie
pokes fun at everything from the woman of the age to monsters to the Knights of the
Round Table. It is a perfect example of satire, because it makes use of almost every
satirical weapon, although humor is the most commonly used one. I will prove FX Feeny,
a professional movie reviewer wrong when he said, ?In theory, Hail Grail is a spoof of the
legend of King Arthur, but John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, and Co. use the
premise mainly as a springboard for their idiosyncratic (and oft-repeated) skits
The movie starts gets going right from the get go with the satirical aspects. King
Arthur is seen through a heavy fog riding a horse towards a castle, or so it seems. When
he gets closer you realize that he is actually just hopping up and down, while his fellow
traveler bangs to coconuts together. When he arrives at the castle he asks the guards at
the castle to ask the master of the castle if he would be willing to join the Knights of the
Round Table. The guards then ask King Arthur where he got the coconuts he is banging
together from, because they only grow in the tropics. This conversation ends up leading
nowhere as the two guards argue over whether or not a swallow could carry a coconut
across the ocean to Europe. A perfect example of the use of exaggeration.
In the following scene, cold realistic detail is used (this is one of the few times you
will the word realistic used to describe any Monty Python movie). A man is seen walking
down the street dragging a cart full of corpses, yelling ?Bring out your dead? and ringing a
bell. There a dying people lying everywhere and, with the exception of the man yelling
?Bring out your dead,? this is actually an accurate depiction of Europe during the time of
the bubonic plague.
In the very same scene there is a parody to the witch hunts. A group a citizens
pushes a woman up to the gallows claiming that she is a witch. In actuality, the men and
women actually dressed her up in a witch?s outfit and put a carrot on her nose just so they
could see her burn. The way the people eventually decide to tell if she is a witch or not is
by weighing with a duck because both ducks and witches float on water. The even funnier
part is that Arthur asks the knight who came up with the idea to join him, because of his
Monty Python and the Holy Grail also contains some incongruity. At one point in
the movie the King Arthur and the other knights split up. Sir Robin goes off with his
favorite minstrel who sings a song about how brave Sir Robin is. However, when the
supposedly brave knight meets up with a giant three headed knight he quickly flees while
the heads fight amongst themselves. The minstrels song then changes to, ?Brave Sir
Robin ran away,? and Sir Robin continually tells him to shut up, and eventually Robin and
the other knights eat him to survive.
The movie even includes some irony. For when Sir Launcelot (sic) find a note
attached to an arrow from what he thinks is a damsel in distress, he rushes to a castle and
slaughters a castle full of unarmed wedding guests. This is supposed to be one of the
heroes in the movie. He finds out that the note was actually sent by a prince who didn?t
want to get married. About a minute later the prince is pushed out the window by his own
father, and Sir Lancelot (sic) is invited in to have a drink after killing tons of innocent
One of my personal favorite parts of the movie is the intermission right near the
end of the movie. All of the sudden the screen changes to a flashing background that says
INTERMISSION in big bold letters. I guess the Monty Python actors weren?t to crazy
Exaggeration comes into play as well. Towards the end of the movie each of the
knights have to answer three impossible questions so they can cross the bridge of death.
When Sir Launcelot (sic) walks up the bridge-keeper asks him: ?What is your name?
What is your quest?? and ?What is your favorite color??
I left the two most commonly used satire weapon, humor, for the end because
there is no way I could cover all the occurrences, so I will simply provide some examples.
The most comical part of the movie is when the knights arrive at the cave where the
location of the holy grail is hidden. The cave is guarded by a ferocious killer bunny rabbit.
When the knights see the rabbit the laugh and charge at it. The ravenous bunny kills
several of the knights before King Arthur calls the retreat. The knights then blow the
bunny to bits with the ?holy hand grenade.?
Another funny part was when Arthur encounters a man who calls himself the Black
Knight. The knight claims to be invincible and will not let Arthur cross the bridge.
Naturally a duel ensues. Arthur then proceeds to cut off the Black Knight?s left arm, the
knight claims that it is ?only a flesh wound? and the battle continues. As the battle
continues, Arthur proceeds to cut off the knight?s other arm and both of his legs. The
knight then wishes to call it a draw and calls King Arthur a coward when he walks away
from the maimed Black Knight, who claims himself to be the victor.
The purpose of the movie is simply to allow people to view the crusades in a less
serious way. If you think of the Crusades in the manner it is presented in the movie, you
don?t worry so much about the lives that were lost. It?s important to be able to view
things from a different perspective.
In my opinion, Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the funniest movie ever
created. As Professor Betty Grable from RPU said, ? When one thinks of silliness, one,
quite naturally, thinks of Monty Python.? (http://www.rpu.com/monty_python.htm) Not
only is the movie silly though, it is also a great satire. It successfully combines nearly all
the weapons of satire. The movie will leave you laughing nonstop, but I can?t explain.
You just have to see it for yourself.
In conclusion, I would just like to reiterate the fact that Monty Python and the
Holy Grail is not only a great comedy, but also a great satire. By combining all the
aspects of satire and poking fun at almost anything stupid people did in history, it proves
FX Feeney wrong. Monty Python is not merely slapstick comedy, it is a masterpiece.