King Arthur Essay

Length: 3 pages Subject: Mythology Type: Essay Paper: #56219247 Related Topics: Character, Gawain, Betrayal, Romantic Love
Excerpt from Essay :

King Arthur Mordred and the Conflict at Camelot

Arthur is at the center of the Arthurian world of legends; he is the king of Camelot and is married to Guinevere. Arthur has numerous difficulties with his Knights of the Round Table, however—including with Lancelot and Mordred. Lancelot has an affair with Arthur’s wife; and Mordred betrays Arthur’s trust in seeking his own ascension. Why should so many people who were close to Arthur betray? That is a question that remains. Arthur is a good and noble king—but things fall apart for him following the affair between his wife and his best and most loyal friend; and then his own son (Mordred) plots to overthrow his father’s seat. They end up attacking one another on the battlefield, and the father slays the son and the son mortally wounds the father. This is perhaps the saddest of all endings to a story that one could imagine. Arthur changes from a good and noble king to a desperate one attempting to hold onto his power and lashing out at all those who betrayed him—including his own son and his own best friend and wife. It is a kind of fall from grace that is barely comprehensible.

Lancelot is one who is most loyal to Arthur and serves as his best friend and best knight on the Round Table. Yet Lancelot becomes enamored of Arthur’s wife Guinevere and they share a kind of sympathy between themselves that should have been resisted, but it was given nourishment. This crossed a line, and Lancelot should not have crossed it as it was a betrayal of his own king and his own friend. It is understandable why it was crossed—that kind of love/lust is overwhelming and once it is given a moment’s indulgence it is like a snare that one cannot get out of. Thus, Lancelot gives in to a weakness and it sets off a chain of events that destroys Camelot.

Guinevere is also not without her faults. She is Arthur’s beautiful queen. She is loving, loyal and fair—but she indulges this fancy for Lancelot and it serves as a fall from grace for her as well. This illicit love between the knight and the queen is so disastrous—and yet so understandable…after all, Mordred is the illegitimate son of Arthur. That means Arthur himself had his own illicit loves—so why should it be so out of the question that his wife and best friend should have the same failings and weaknesses?

Gawain is a knight who actually rises up and moves away from weakness to strength by coming to better understand his own weakness. He is an arrogant and powerful knight in the legend of the Green Knight, and he cuts off the head of the Green Knight—only…sense that he has been illegitimate from conception.

I see myself mostly in the character of Gawain: just having this sense of I-can-do-it-all and yet being exposed in the end as someone who cannot do it all, who often makes mistakes, and who has his own weaknesses and sins to repent of. And yet in the end he is willing to admit all this, and I think that I am as well. I don’t often like to think of it, but if I am being honest, I can see that I have my flaws and problems and that everyone sees them except for me at times.

So if I had to select someone with whom I most identified it would be Gawain. He acts foolishly and rashly at times, but at others he shows signs of courage and commitment. I think at heart he has a good character. I am not saying I have that kind of noble character myself—but of the choices, I would hate to think of myself as being like Mordred or even Lancelot. I don’t really see any of Guinevere or Arthur in myself—they are just too different in terms of character and status. I think that there is something working class in Gawain that I find makes him unique. He is loyal yet not without his own pettiness, arrogance, and flaws. So he is the most relatable of…

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