Arthurian Tradition in Literature Lisa Kot Prof. Chris Fee February 26, 1999.
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Arthurian Tradition in Literature Lisa Kot Prof. Chris Fee February 26, 1999
Reasons for Variation in the Legend Because the legend was passed down orally, many different versions came about. The Welsh originated the legend, which was then passed down through a few different cultures (Anglo Saxons, French and Modern British). For example, the French romanticized the stories.
Central Characters in Arthurian Literature King Arthur--King of the Britons. Guinevere--King Arthur’s wife. Sir Lancelot--Arthur’s favorite knight. Merlin--Magician, Arthur’s counselor.
Minor Characters in Arthurian Literature Sir Galahad--the pure, one of the knights of the round table. Sir Mordred--Arthur’s son/nephew/brother. Morgain Le Fay--Arthur’s half-sister/sister. Gawain--another knight of the round table.
Select Examples of Arthurian Legends According to most of the legends, King Arthur was king of the Britons and a warrior of an epic scale. He was the possessor of the magic sword Excalibur. Depending on the legend, the magic sword was either a gift from the Lady of the Lake, or pulled from the stone in the churchyard.
Eventually he was defeated by Mordred, (Mordred was his son in some legends and his brother in others). Guinevere was King Arthur’s wife. She was a beautiful woman who had a tragic love affair with Sir Lancelot. Guinevere became a nun after Mordred defeated King Arthur. Sir Lancelot was Arthur’s favorite knight. Later Sir Lancelot betrayed Arthur by having an affair with Guinevere.
Merlin was a magician who instructed and advised Arthur. In some legends Merlin was a Druid. Merlin’s mother was mortal and his father was rumored to be a demon spirit. Sir Galahad was the knight assigned to go on the quest for the Holy Grail. Galahad is also the knight that discovers the affair between Guinevere and Lancelot. Mordred was Arthur’s son (or nephew) by Morgain Le Fay.
Morgain Le Fay was Arthur’s half- sister or sister, depending on the legend Morgain Le Fay was Mordred’s mother.