What are five incidents that hinder Hank's progress in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court?

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ecofan74 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Hank continually works toward specific goal:  if he cannot return to the nineteenth century, he will make the sixth century like the nineteenth century.  In the course of Hank's progression to this goal, he must face certain obstacles.

Five particular incidents present the greatest threat to Hank's attainment of his goal.  When King Arthur and Hank go on a journey through the countryside, the two of them are taken into slavery.  The loss of physical freedom provides a major hindrance to Hank's plans.  Furthermore, on the same journey, King Arthur and Hank are to be hanged.  If not for the efforts of Lancelot and his five hundred knights, Hank's plans would have ended at that point.  Once he returns to Camelot, Hank is presented with another potential obstacle.  He must fulfill his duty and duel with Sir Sagramor.  Ultimately, Hank succeeds, and his plans are not derailed.

Two other incidents are not specific incidents but much larger obstacles.  Perhaps the greatest hindrances to Hank's plans are the people themselves.  On Hank's journey through the countryside with Arthur, he notices the state of society in the sixth century, and he is appalled.  When he begins to take action to address the state of affairs, Hank finds that the people either are unaware of what is going on, or they are complacent.  They are satisfied with the way things are, and they have no ambition to strive to change it.  Since Hank is advocating change for the people, their attitude hinders his efforts a great deal.

In the closing chapters of the novel, Hank gets it into his mind to challenge to prevailing social order and specifically the power of the knights.  Though Hank is successful against the knights, when the Church comes in during the aftermath of the series of battles, the people, in their superstition, abandon Hank when threatened with excommunication.  Ultimately, it is this incident that proves Hank's undoing.

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