Since I keep quoting from this every time I mention the Trojan Horse, I thought I should give it its own post.
This is one of my favourite scenes from my favourite Monty Python film, in which Sir Bedevere's plan to outwit the taunting French castle guards ('Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!') goes a little bit wrong...
BEDEVERE: Sir! I have a plan, sir.
[later] [wind] [saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw saw] [clunk] [bang] [rewr!] [squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak] [rrrr rrrr rrrr] [drilllll] [sawwwww] [clunk] [crash] [clang] [squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak...] [creak]
FRENCH GUARDS: [whispering] C'est un lapin, lapin de bois. Quoi? Un cadeau. What? A present. Oh, un cadeau. Oui, oui. Allons-y! What? Let's go. Oh. On y va. Bon magne. Over here... [squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak...] [clllank]
ARTHUR: What happens now?
BEDEVERE: Well, now, uh, Lancelot, Galahad, and I, uh, wait until nightfall, and then leap out of the rabbit, taking the French, uh, by surprise. Not only by surprise, but totally unarmed!
ARTHUR: Who leaps out?
BEDEVERE: U-- u-- uh, Lancelot, Galahad, and I. Uh, leap out of the rabbit, uh, and uh...
BEDEVERE: Oh. Um, l-- look, i-- i-- if we built this large wooden badger-- [clank] [twong]
ARTHUR: Run away!
KNIGHTS: Run away! Run away! Run away! Run away! Run away! Run away! Run away!
FRENCH GUARDS: Oh, haw haw haw haw! Haw! Haw haw heh...
There are so many reasons I love this scene. The Fronglais is brilliant and I love the way the French soldiers don't actually speak French. I'm not sure whether this counts as breaking the fourth wall (because the English actors can't speak French) or if its just Python madness, but it's very funny. My favourite bit of Fronglais occurs just before this section, when one French guard orders another to 'Fetchez la vache!' - a perfect blend of French grammar and English vocab.
Bedevere's incompetance is also hilarious - he's thought the whole thing through so carefully, but missed one vital element of the plan...
Finally, this scene is funny because, once again, it demonstrates how supremely silly the story of the Trojan Horse is. The idea of sneaking a few soldiers in to take the city by surprise is perfectly sensible, but the idea of doing so using a giant wooden horse is less so, and the image of a giant wooden rabbit (and Bedevere's plan to use a badger next) shows just how silly it is. There are all sorts of theories about why this imagery is used, some of them focused around the idea that the story has Indo-European origins (the Wikipedia link here seems decent, but caution is advised - although the links between Indo-European languages have been well established and are pretty much universally accepted, there is pretty much no proof of any of the theories concerning myth, and so a lot of rubbish gets spouted on this subject. And bear in mind that several Indo-European motifs do not appear in Greek myth). For example, one theory says that the Indian aśvamedha ritual consisted of the sacrifice of a horse and may have been linked with the consolidation of a ruler, so the Trojan Horse might represent a horse sacrifice to achieve victory, resulting in the destruction of the enemy ruler. But all of this must be taken with a huge pinch of salt - there just isn't enough evidence to make any theory convincing.
And it all ends with Python's classic battle cry, beloved of all those of a practical bent - 'Run away! Run away!'
For anyone who's interested - my lecture on the historicity of the Trojan War