Morte D'Arthur

Topics: Le Morte d'Arthur, The Once and Future King, King Arthur Pages: 4 (1241 words) Published: April 20, 2013
Glenn Ruitenbeek
Literature 2
K. Johanson

Fate’s free will: How Free Will in Malory’s Morte Darthur is dominated by Fate’s ways

Fate, or, as used in the early days, Wyrd, is a theme that is recurring throughout the history of English literature. More specifically, it is often found in Early and Middle English texts. Free will is the opposite of fate. And free will is what we all think we have. We are, in our opinion, in the position to make our own decisions, to plan everything according to our wishes and needs. But some argue that all our moves are predestined. They argue that the ‘free will’ we think we have is just the push, figuratively speaking, needed to make us do what fate has written. In Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, fate and free will often collide. Arthur’s Knights think they are the ones making the decisions, but the outcome of their actions is often prophesized, or at least clear to the reader. So, in Morte Darthur, free will is a slave to Wyrd, and so are the characters within the story.

There are many occasions, on which a certain fate is prophesized. The first one occurs in Book I, where Merlin says onto Athur that he has slept with his sister, ‘and on her ye have gotten a child who shall destroy you and all the knights of your realm’ (Malory 30). Arthur then hurries, trying to avoid this fate, by ordering his men to search ‘for all children born on a May-Day, begotten by lords and born of ladies’ (38). But even after all this trouble, Mordred survives. Mordred, in the end, carries out what his fate has set him out to do, strike the deathly blow that kills his father, Arthur. As is seen in so many stories, in numerous tales, a prophecy is made. Then the subject of the prophecy handles through free will to prevent the prophecy from fulfillment. But because of these actions, the prophecy is fulfilled. So, here is the first part of evidence that proves that free will is subject to fate.

Another proof of this theory is the...

Cited: Malory, Sir Thomas.  Works.  Ed. Eugene Vinaver.  Oxford:  Oxford UP, 1971.
“Morte Darthur.”Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et
al. 8th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. Print
Lumiansky, R. M. "Sir Thomas Malory 's Le Morte Darthur." N.p., n.d.
Web. 12 Mar. 2013.
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