Merlin’s Character Development in Le Morte d’Arthur
Many characters take lots of thinking and organization to understand them. This is the same case for most of the characters in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. One must understand where each came from and what personality the author is trying to portray. In Le Morte d’Arthur we find Merlin to be a very creepy, powerful, and mysterious character.
The first indication that Merlin is a very different kind of character comes out within the first couple pages. King Uther wants to sleep with the Duke of Tyntagil’s wife, Lady Igrayne, and Merlin doesn’t find that to be a problem at all. He actually gets involved and wants to help. After disguising himself as a beggar, and turning King Uther into the likes of the Duke of Tyntagil, he explains to the King what will happen after he sleeps with Lady Igrayne:
“Syre,” said Merlin, “this is my desyre, the first nyght that ye shal lye by Igrayne ye shal
gete a child on her; and when that is borne, that it shall be delivered to me for to
nourisshe there as I wille have it –for it shal be your worship and the childis availle, as
mykel as the child is worth.” (Malory 5)
The fact that Merlin is predicting the future to every detail is a disturbing characteristic that continues throughout the book. His conversation also leads to the fact that he believes that his word is worth more than Uther’s child and because he has helped the king, the king should return the favor with his first born.
Another example where Merlin seems powerful is at the beginning of the “How Uther Pendrago Gate Kyng Arthur” story. Merlin has placed a sword in the stone for the knights to test and pull out. It is written on the sword that whoever pulls it out should be the King of all England. The reader of the story knows that Merlin has placed it there specifically for Arthur. However the townspeople believe it is a sign from God and all the knights test it out. After Arthur...
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