This excerpt from Malory’s Morte D’Arthur illustrates the greatness of King Arthur and the importance of following the rules of war and chivalry. King Arthur is betrayed by his close friend Lancelot, his most favored knight, and by his queen Guinevere. Upon being betrayed, Arthur is forced to follow the rules of the time, and do as he is expected.
When Arthur discovers that Lancelot and Guinevere have traveled to Joyous Garde, he swoons in sadness due to the loss of the many other knights lost in the battle. It would be easy to assume that the king would be eager to seek vengeance on Lancelot, who cost him the lives of so many knights. However, he is sad to lose ”the noble fellowship of Sir Lancelot” (446). Although Arthur is devastated at the loss of Lancelot, he feels as though he must lay siege on Joyous Garde in order to get revenge for the men Lancelot killed in battle. It is easy to tell that the king is simply acting as he feels he should, instead of following his heart. It seems as if, in his heart, Arthur wishes to put an end to the fighting. He cries, “Alas, that ever I bore crown upon my head” (446), cursing the day that he became king, thus becoming responsible and being forced to make such difficult choices for the sake of his kingdom and his men.
Dealing with such betrayal by his close comrade and his own wife just proves how just a king Arthur truly is. He manages to put aside his own mixed feelings about the couple and do what is best for Camelot. It is actions like that which make him such a legend in literary works to this day.
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