How are the characters Morgan le Fay and Hank Morgan alike and different?

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Mark Twain's satirical novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, the characters of Morgan le Faye and Hank Morgan share a number of similarities, despite their very different natures.  Hank Morgan, the Connecticut Yankee, is really as average person as one could imagine.  In the world of the nineteenth century, he is not extraordinary.  When he is transported back to the sixth century, however, Hank takes on a greater importance.  After the episode of the eclipse in the early chapters of the novel, Hank becomes known as a powerful sorcerer, not unlike Morgan le Faye.  While this connection is superficial, it does lead to other, more substantive similarities between the two characters.

Like Morgan le Faye, Hank is very manipulative; however, he is not malicious.  Hank's intentions are generally good, though his motivations are often quite selfish.  When Hank outduels Merlin in the eclipse episode, he sees an opportunity to capitalize on his new-found celebrity.  Rather than tell the people that he is not a sorcerer, he allows them to think what they want.  He begins to play to his reputation, gaining whatever rewards he can.  That being said, those endeavors Hank undertakes throughout the novel are motivated, to a degree, by a genuine sense of humanitarianism.  Morgan le Faye, on the other hand, is extremely manipulative, but her motivations and actions tend more to the malicious, particularly when she does not get what she wants. 

Morgan le Faye and Hank have similar reputations.  Fueled largely by the superstitions of the other characterrs, Hank's being a sorcerer guarantees that the people are scared of him.  They see that he has awesome power, and they perceive anyone with as much power as he has with distrust and fear.  They feared Merlin as well - that is, before Hank became "the Boss."  Morgan le Faye, like Hank, is feared by the other characters becausee of the power she wields as a sorcerer. 

The points of similarity between Hank and Morgan le Faye lie in how they appear to the society of the sixth century.  Both are sorcerers and are therefore warrant the people's distrust and fear.  While the two characters appear similar in a number of ways, it is in their actions that their characters diverge.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both characters are stubborn, intelligent and determined. Morgan Le Fey, of course, uses her qualities to ruin her brother, Arthur, and for evil. Morgan Le Fey enslaves and kills to get what she wants. Hank Morgan uses his qualities to try to change events during King Arthur's time to suit his own beliefs and opinions. By introducing technology and changing the political system of the time, Hank causes havoc.

I think the greatest difference between the two characters is what they are willing to do to get their way. Morgan Le Fey will do anything, including murder, to get what she wants. She is a well-known villain of King Arthur's time, and she uses her powers to ruin her brother and anyone who stands in her way. Hank Morgan isn't willing to murder to change things to his beliefs. Hank has a basic goodness in him that Morgan Le Fay is lacking.

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