Essay on The fall of Camelot: A Consequence of its Imperfect King

Essay on The fall of Camelot: A Consequence of its Imperfect King

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In Western culture, mere mention of the name “Camelot” is often enough to inspire images of courtly romance, grandeur, and valiant knights. In fact, the kingdom is nearly as legendary as the hero who ruled it, Arthur Pendragon. Regardless of whether he exists as a historical or mythical figure, Arthur continues to appear as a symbol of heroism in Western tradition through his roles as king and warrior. When modern culture searches for the qualities of a great fighter, it finds them in Arthur’s strength and his bravery. When it looks for the makings of a true leader, it need not look further than Arthur’s accomplishments: his founding of the Round Table Knights, his victory over the Saxons, and finally his unification of Britain. In short, the Arthur as described in Sir Tomas Malory’s tale of King Arthur and His Knights is depicted as nothing less than a romanticized and idealized hero. However, if Arthur and his knights had ushered in an era of peace that fostered a flawless society, Malory’s work raises the serious question, “Why then does Camelot spiral into ruin?” History reminds us that no kingdom – no matter how great – lasts forever because no kingdom is perfect. King Arthur, his court of noble knights, and Camelot are no exception. Unraveling Malory’s story from the time of Arthur’s coronation to his eventual death reveals that Camelot’s greatest strength may also have been its greatest flaw, the authoritative leadership of King Arthur.
To tarnish Arthur’s image of perfection demands a closer inspection at where his story begins. For those familiar with Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, it is common knowledge that Arthur was a child begotten by means of adultery when his father, Uther Pendragon, disguised himself with magic...

... middle of paper ...

...R. Web. 09 May 2014. .
Lexton, Ruth. "Kingship in Malory's Morte Darthur." The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 110.2 (2011): 173-201. JSTOR. Web. 09 May 2014. .
Malory, Thomas, and Eugène Vinaver. King Arthur and His Knights: Selected Tales. London: Oxford UP, 1975. Print.
Malory, Thomas, and Janet Cowen. Le Morte D'Arthur. London: Penguin, 2004. Print.
Reynolds, Meredith. "Malory's Use of 'Counsel' and 'Advyce' in Creating a King." Arthuriana 16.2, ON MALORY: FESTSCHRIFT IN HONOR OF D. THOMAS HANKS, JR. (2006): 40-44. JSTOR. Web. 09 May 2014. .

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