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Clovis Sangrail Of Saki
Clovis Sangrail is a character featured in three of the Saki short stories
covered this semester. The three featured short stories are "Tobermory",
"The Unrest-cure", and "The She-Wolf". Clovis is undoubtedly one of
Saki’s preferred individuals because he is a reoccurring character. Since
Saki’s main intention was to mock the aristocracy, he required an antithetical
character that could serve as a vehicle for Saki’s own actions to be carried
out in the stories. A subtle annoyance and dislike for high-society can be
sensed in "The Unrest-cure". Clovis hears Huddle whining about the lack of
stress in his accommodating aristocratic life. Clovis dutifully tricks the
unsuspecting and vulnerable Huddle in spite of his previous complaints. Saki
uses Clovis to enact torment on the upper class. In "Tobermory", Clovis’
impatience is revealed when he utters "rats" under his breath while everyone
else settled for a quiet discord. Even when the cat did start disclosing all the
gossip it had overheard, Clovis kept his composure. Although, he did quietly"calculate how long it would take to procure a box of fancy mice through the
agency of the Exchange and Mart as a species of hush-money". However,
Clovis’ impatience resurfaced when he refused to stay up any longer and wait
for the cat to come back. This also revealed his borderline indifference to the
uncanny event of a cat talking. Finally, one of Clovis’ most prevalent
characteristics is unveiled at the last line of the story when he says, "If he
was trying German irregular verbs on the poor beast, he deserved all he got".
Clovis, without fail, finds humor in any situation. In "The Unrest-cure",
Saki uses Clovis to deal out a little distress on a well-rested aristocrat.
Utilizing proficient listening and capable thinking, Clovis learns of Huddle’s"problem" and quickly plots a way to exploit the man. This elaborate plan
displays his how mischievous and cunning Clovis is. Not to mention how
quick-witted he is when handles Huddle’s plea to call the police. Clovis keeps
the situation under his control. Clovis is also aware of how naive the
aristocrats are and exploits this gullibility to the fullest extent. He even
goes so far to convince Huddle that the Bishop has ordered the massacre of every
Jew in the neighborhood. And once again, Clovis finds humor at the expense of
high-society when he remarks, "I don’t suppose that they will be in the
least grateful for the Unrest-cure". In the beginning of "The She-Wolf",
Clovis, once again, sits quietly listening and planning his scheme to trick an
aristocrat. In order to carry out this scheme, he needs the help of Lord Pabham.
He remains subtle and non-emotional to avoid any disagreement to his rather
unusual request. Clovis guides Leonard into the trap by posing the question,
"You’re surely not going to make coins disappear, or something primitive of
the sort?" Clovis skillfully uses phrases and questions to steer people into
predictable actions. He also uses phrases to lead people to the desired
assumption he is trying to convey. He does this by saying, "Of course we must
accept your assurance that you didn’t turn Mrs. Hampton into a wolf, but you
will agree that appearances are against you" and then interjecting, "I
don’t suppose Colonel Hampton would care to have his wife turned into a
succession of fancy animals as though we were playing a round game with her".
Then, Clovis completes his prank with truly infuriating Leonard by stealing all
the glory Leonard was attempting to gain by lying about his powers. Once again,
Clovis finds humor at the expense of the aristocracy when he notes, "Once does
not care to speak about these strange powers, but once in a way, when one hears
a lot of nonsense being talked about them, one is tempted to show what Siberian
magic can in the hands of some one who really understands it". When observing
these three examples, one can conclude that Clovis’ character is used to
create conflict with the aristocracy. As well as conflict, Clovis provides a
conveyance for Saki to poke fun at the upper class. Clovis’ quick wits and
humor designate him as a veritable threat to the йlite’s vulnerability
that accompanies a pampered and superficial lifestyle.
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Saki, Clovis, European people, Fiction, New Mexico
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