Home  Green Knight  Dame Ragnelle  Morte Darthur  Summary  Links  

King Arthur: Morte Darthur


The Morte Darthur reveals yet more of Arthur's humanity and his heroism. His love for his queen, Guinevere, is not quite the chivalrous relationship that it seems. He dreads the confrontation with Lancelot over Lancelot's affair with Guinevere and laments "much more I am sorrier for my good knights' loss than for the loss of my fair queen; for queens I might have enough, but such a fellowship of good knights shall never be together in no company." His true love is for his knights and their fellowship. He holds his kingship and love of his court over any personal love that he may have. The death of Arthur is also both noble and flawed. The flaw is that it comes about because of the evil machinations of Mordred, Arthur's son with his half sister Morgana. This incestuous heritage is the taint that leads to Arthur's downfall. Mordred seizes Britain while Arthur is in France fighting Lancelot and Arthur must come back to confront him. Their armies slaughter each other on the battlefield, and a hundred thousand knights die. Afterwards, all that remain are Arthur, Sir Lucan, Sir Bedivere and Mordred. Arthur, in an echo of the Ubi sunt passage exclaims "where are all my noble knights become?" He is heartbroken at the loss of his men. Sir Lucan advises him to let Mordred go, but Arthur knows that the moment is at hand for a final confrontation with his wicked son. He knows he will never have another chance to face him one to one. Enraged, he runs Mordred through with his spear, but Mordred, in his death throes, pulls his body up the length of the spear to deliver a mortal blow to Arthur's head. The last scene is of a dying Arthur being rowed away on a boat by the three queens. He tells Sir Bedivere that he is going to Avalon. He dies nobly and with honor, but his foe is his own son. Arthur truly has created his own destiny.   Next

Hear Arthur!






Ubi sunt: An Old English elegiac theme questioning the passing of life in
a warrior society. Where are they who were once so glad to be alive?

This page and all graphics created by Lowell Wilson
Email Lowell Wilson:lowell@interport.net