The rivalry between Hank and Merlin is, of course, a humorous aspect to this work. More seriously, this opposition signifies the narrator's distaste for superstition and for lack of clarity. Enchantment and magic become representative of a flawed, childlike thinking which refuses to acknowledge rationality or logic. This is most in evidence when Sandy sees only a castle with ogres keeping damsels in captivity, whereas Hank sees a pigsty with hogs in it.
In allegorical terms, the 6th Century slave procession which the king and Hank are forced to join is a direct symbolic indictment of 19th Century slavery in the United States. This connection is driven home in Chapter XXXIV when Hank explains that a slave auction made no impression on him in the 19th Century, but now that he is a slave, he feels differently about the subject.
The criticisms of slavery in a 6th Century society also emphasize how this not only should never have happened, but for it to be occurring in a 19th Century republic shows that this republic is far from ideal.
Hank's arrival in Camelot entails that 19th Century technology and ideas are introduced in the name of progress. Because of this, technological changes symbolize a faith in scientific progress.
For the most part, this novel appears to adhere to the concept that new communications such as newspapers, the telephone and the telegraph are improvements for the 6th Century society as Hank imposes his ideas on the nation.
Such ideas are left largely unchallenged, as is Hank's fundamental belief in the joys of capitalism and 'free trade'. However, it is possible to see this introduction of technology as questioned towards the end of the novel with the mass destruction of the knights.