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I Saw Guinevere There as Well

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I Saw Guinevere There as Well

Numerous sources, such as Layamon's "Arthur's Dream", Marie de France's "Lanval" and Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, portray Guinevere as a unfaithful wife and the primary cause of the fall of King Arthur and The Round Table. In all of the three works, Guinevere is seen approaching various men such as Lanval and Sir Lancelot, knights of her husband. And, yet, she remains virtuous and appealing in the eyes of King Arthur, who loves her dearly. Such blindness or possibly Arthur's unconditional love of Guinevere and Lancelot, Arthur's best knight, lead to the fall of Arthur's Britain and of the Round Table.

In one of her lays, "Lanval", Marie de France presents Guinevere approaching the main character,Lanval, one of Arthur's knights, with a proposition. She offers herself to Lanval to be his mistress, willing to satisfy his sexual joys:

Lanval, I've honored you sincerely,

Have cherished you and loved you dearly.

All my love is at your disposal.

Your mistress I consent to be;

You should receive much joy from me (257- 262).

Such behavior is clearly unacceptable for a lady in Guinevere's position. She does not only compromise herself, but also presents Arthur as a weak man, unable to control his wife, and therefore a weak ruler. Furthermore, the author of the tale portrays Guinevere as a very wicked character. Angered by Lanval's rejection of her approaches, Guinevere insults Lanval, calling him a homosexual:

Often I have heard men aver

That women are not what you prefer.

But you have many pretty boys

With whom you like to take your joys (273-276).

Moreover, Guinevere later manufactures a story to tell Arthur, in which the roles are reversed and Lanval is pr...

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...Thomas Malory, present Guinevere, Arthur's queen, as one of the causes of the fall of Arthurian empire. Guinevere is described as a wicked and unfaithful wife, whose behavior triggers the fall of her husband's rule. And although other factors, such as people's jealousy and evil, influence the outcome of the legendary empire, Guinevere's unfaithfulness is the primary cause of the fall of King Arthur and his Round Table.

Works Cited

France, Marie De. Lanval. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H.Abrams. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. 127-140.

Layamon. "Arthur's Dream." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H.Abrams. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. 122-124.

Malory, Thomas Sir. Morte Darthur. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed.

M.H.Abrams. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2000. 421-439.
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