Morgause raises four boys. She is not a good mother, and she does not give her boys a sense of right and wrong. She often ignores them for days at a time and beats them when they displease her. She acts as if they were pets rather than human beings, to be loved or not at her convenience. But despite this common maltreatment, the boys turn out very differently. Gawaine is the oldest of the boys and in many ways the most normal. He becomes a knight in Arthur's court, fighting for him loyally. The way in which he is affected by his upbringing is his rages. When provoked Gawaine goes into a berserk rage in which he does things he would normally never do. The next child, Agravaine, is probably the least well-adjusted of the four. He tends to be sadistic and self-centered. The children were told the tale of the King of Ireland by St. Toirdealbhach; the tale where the king gets a head wound and cannot be excited, but then he dies while trying to defend his savior. Agravaine does not see any point in putting one's self in danger to protect anyone else. He says "It was silly, it did no good," because he does not understand the principal behind the story. When big flaw they all have is to despise. They all agree that they must hate Arthur, because their mother has told them that he is a Pendragon, and they love their grandmother Igraine, and, especially, their mother Morgause.
This, they say, is the reason "we of Cornwall and Orkney must be against the Kings of England ever more" (Chapter 1, pg. 223)
Artur at his young age is always eager tom war.
"Unless you can make the world wag better than it does at present, King, your reign will be an endless series of petty battles..." (Chapter 4, pg. 241)
The boys acted off impulse without thinking when it came to trying to please their mother.
"We could take the kitchenmaid. We could make her to come." (Chapter 7-page 193)
The kings and knights are very selfish. Merilyn explains this to Arthur by trying to tell him that there are a lot of people who are dying in battle. He does not want Arthur to turn out like dad, to change the fact that kings and knights do whatever they want, while the peasants who are forced to fight for them are murdered. Arthur agrees that it is wrong, and that he will never have been such a thing as a single particle of sorrow on the gay, sweet surface of the dew-glittering world." (Chapter 2, pg. 230)
King Lot has a very selfish ambition because she wants to hunt down Arthur. For example, while on a quest with Arthur, Kay inquires Merlyn who Queen Morgause is, and why her husband, King Lot, is trying to fight Arthur. Merlyn then goes on to tell them that Lot fights Arthur because Arthur's ancestors have been conquering Lot's ancestors for thousands of years, and because since Uther raped Morgause's mother, Morgause hates Arthur as Uther's son. Merlyn doesn't believe that any of these are good reasons for a war.
Queen Guenever is considered the third figure in the love triangle that dominates the novel's second half. She is beautiful, but she is also jealous, selfish, petty, and shallow all of the combination that makes her a little self-ambitious. For example, The Queen began plucking at the neck of her dress, as if it were too tight for her.
"You are standing up for her," she said. "You are in love with her, and deceiving me. I
thought so all along." (p 208)
Queen Guenever sons are very ambitious to please her.
And then, when we have caught the unicorn which is wanted, we will bring it home in triumph and give it to our mother! We will serve at supper every night!" (Chapter 7-page 193)
Secrets/Cover-ups - Effects on Characters
Guenever handles their cover-up badly between her and Lancelot, and at one point she is really excited to be reunited with Lancelot even in front of Arthur. Other thing she tries to cover up is growing old. As Guenever ages, she tries desperately to…