Sir Lancelot's intense desire to perform heroic deeds was brought on by his
lack of confidence and insecurity. His childhood was spent in seclusion,
training for a job desired only to escape the hellish life that his hideous face
would otherwise hold in store for him. Lancelot's adulthood was spent trying to
overcompensate for this ugliness by performing Herculean feats and good deeds.
And the twilight years of his life were spent in remorse for the bad things he
had done. Although held up to almost godlike stature in T.H. White's novel The
Once And Future King, Lancelot was truly the most human character of them all.
Lancelot's childhood was spent sequestered, training to be a knight in
order to escape from his ugliness and give him something to be proud of.
Lancelot wanted to be a knight because he felt that he was a depraved,
lubricious soul. His hideously twisted visage was a sure sign to him that deep
in his inner self he was an evil person. Night and day he brooded over his
ugliness, his malfeasance. "The boy thought that there was something wrong with
him. All through his life - even when he was a great man with the world at his
feet - he was to feel this gap: something at the bottom of his heart of which he
was aware, and ashamed, but which he did not understand."(p.315) As a result of
this fear of himself, Lancelot trained to become a knight. The knighthood, a
bastion of chivalry and nobleness, would be the only way to counter his immoral
soul. Secondly, Lancelot lived a baneful existence as a boy. He was kept away
from all the other children and spent his every waking hour with a fiery old man
in a single room, learning to fight, joust, and fence. This may seem extreme to
some, but for Lancelot, it was all he had. "Three years may seem a long time
for a boy to spend in one room,...unless you realize from the start that...this
rather sullen and unsatisfactory child, with the ugly face, did not... [continues]
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