The Macksey Journal


Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a film that epitomizes the various forms of deconstruction in Postmodern Philosophy. The 1975 film presents a farcical version of the Arthurian Legend of the quest for the Holy Grail, along with this are a series of metanarrative deconstructions that permeate the film. Consistent with the definition of Postmodernism presented by Jean-Francois Lyotard, the film disparages metanarratives. This is presented at a surface level in the deconstruction of Arthurian tropes, from the base concept of the chivalrous noble to the knights of the round table and King Arthur. As each of the Arthurian characters is presented with a challenge, each acts counter to the expectations set by the modern Arthurian canon. Furthermore, interspersed throughout the film are moments of addressing the audience, and interactions between those making the film and the viewer. Beyond the deconstruction of the film as a means of conveying narratives, this also supports a Heidegger’s notion of Postmodernism as a means of bringing the audience to an awareness of their own essence rather than allowing them to be passive participants in a story flatly presented to them. The plethora of narrative, archetypal, and presentation deconstructions are layered throughout the film in such a way that Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s essence is that of a Postmodern narrative.