The Once and Future King Essay

The Once and Future King Essay

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The Once and Future King, or King Arthur, is a legend that is, despite its age, known by all. Everyone has heard of King Arthur and his loyal knights that make up the Round Table, but the rest of the famous legend is less known. If asked about Arthur’s parentage or birthplace, most people would not know. How many people can name off Arthur’s knights? Everyone knows Arthur’s name, but the details are less defined. Arthurian legend has many parts, the first being how Arthur came into being, then the most well-known part of the legend, but there is also his famous knights, the possibility of a historical Arthur, and how the legend has evolved over the ages.
One thing that is unique about the Arthurian legend is that it has a story to set up the main part of the legend. It traces back to Arthur’s grandfather and follows the betrayals and murders to Arthur’s uncle, Aurelius Ambrosius, who is killed by poison, leaving the crown to Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon. Merlin is also first introduced in the beginning part of the legend. Arthur’s conception is not how one would expect it to be. It begins when Uther falls in love with Igraine, wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. Gorlois notices Uther’s advances on his wife and as a result, decides to leave court, taking Igraine with him. Uther takes offense to Gorlois’s sudden departure and orders him to return to court. Gorlois refuses and accordingly, Uther and his royal army march onto Gorlois’s land. Gorlois then put Igraine in Tintagel Castle, a fortress found on the shore that could only be approached by a narrow ridge, and rode out with his own forces to meet the royal army. Merlin gave Uther a potion that gave Uther the appearance of Gorlois and then Uther went to Tintagel where he en...


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...eryone knows about Lancelot, the quest for the Holy Grail, and the story of Arthur’s downfall. Those are the parts that everyone has at least heard of, whether it be through movies or books, but there are parts that many people do not know. The story of how Arthur came to be, the names and stories of Arthur’s knights, the possibility of a historic Arthur, and the evolution of the legend through literature are all parts of the King Arthur story that people do not remember, but are a part of it nonetheless.


Works Cited

"Arthurian Legend." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. MAS Ultra -
School Edition. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
Berthold, Paul. "Arthur--Man Or Myth?." In Britain 7.11 (1997): 21. Academic Search Premier.
Web. 19 Mar. 2014.
Ashe, Geoffrey. The Discovery of King Arthur. New York: Henry Holt, 1985. 3-24.Google Scholar.
Web. 19 Mar. 2014.

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