Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur
This page documents the study guides relating to the book, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur.
Merlin Guide[edit | edit source]
Study Guide for The Tale of King Arthur— “Merlin,” pp. 21-43, Brown, English 10
- The ruler of all Britain was Uther Pendragon.
- After being at war for many years with the Duke of Tintagil, why did he call a truce? Seduction
- What did Igraine and the Duke do that enraged Uther? They left the court in secret.
- Sick with a broken heart, Uther made a deal with Merlin who could assume disguises and use his powers to make others disguised.
- What was the deal? Uther gives Merlin his child that he conceives with Igraine.
- How did Igraine feel (and in a larger sense, what power did most women have at this time)?
- A little later in the story why is she overjoyed?
- What did Sir Ulfius and fellow nobles want Uther to do?
- Who are Igraine’s sisters? Margays and Elaine
- Who is Morgan le Fay? Evil tempress, Ingraine’s daughter.
- Merlin wants the child (Arthur) brought to him for baptism saying he is destined for kinsmanship.
- Give 3 reasons Sir Ector is selected as a foster parent.
- Extremely loyal
- Earns good estates
- Wife had just borne him a child
- Uther dies 2 years later and during the years that follow his death, what happens? Everybody started fighting for the throne; the whole country went through jeopardy.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury decides that there must be a way to determine succession to the throne for the good of the country so he declares it will be done in what way? It will be miraculously revealed.
- On New Year’s Day, a tournament is held. Describe what happens. Sir Kay forgot his sword; they went back to the lodging, but it was locked. They rode on to St. Paul’s to get the sword that was lodged in the stone. Arthur stood up and tugged the sword free without reading the church inscriptions.
- Who protests Arthur’s cause in all 4 occasions? Barons
- Who finally demands that Arthur be made king? Commoners
- What attitude did Arthur show toward the nobles? Forgiveness
- Where was Arthur dubbed “first night of the realm”? High Alter
- What was Arthur’s first 2 tasks as king?
- Re-establish those nobles who had been robbed of their lands during the troubled years since the reign of King Uther.
- Establish peace and order in the counties near London.
- Arthur’s most formidable enemies were in north and west of Britain.
- He sent gifts to win their favor which were refused. Arthur alliances with King Ban and King Bors in France. The huge battle was at Caerleon where Arthur won enduring fame for his great qualities on the battlefield. See pp. 32-33 for the violent details of the fighting.
- How does Merlin suggest Arthur divide the spoils of battle with Ban and Bors? Divide it equally between them.
- Merlin leaves to visit his old master Bloyse. Why? So Bloyse could keep a written record of Arthur’s journey (life)
- What happens at the feast thrown by King Lodegreaunce? Arthur met Gwynevere, the king’s daughter, and lusted for her.
- Who is King Lot’s wife and what happens with her and Arthur? Margwase; She was originally suppose to spy on Arthur, but they eventually soon fell in love and she gave birth to Sir Modred with Arthur.
- Who is King Pellinore and what is his destiny? He’s a king whose destiny is to either kill a gigantic beast or die trying.
- What is Merlin’s prediction concerning Arthur’s situation with Marguase? The kingdom will get destroyed by Sir Modred.
- What is Merlin’s prediction about himself? He will be buried alive.
- Describe Arthur’s meeting with his mother. Arthur found out that Queen Igraine is his mother when Merlin and Sir Ector proves to it at the court. They ended up having a mother and son reunion for a week.
- What happens at the Lake of Avalon? In the center of the lake, an arm was found, clothed in white samite and the hand of the arm was grasping a finely jeweled sword and scabbard.
- What is unique about the scabbard of the sword? It is the magic sword Excalibur and it would make Arthur lose no blood.
- Describe the barbaric message sent to Arthur by King Royns. He told Arthur of his fringed mantle and that he threatens Arthur with beheading him in order to complete it
- In the last event of the tale, Merlin advises a harsh measure to Arthur concerning Modred: All babies of the nobility born on May Day were to be brought to the court. Arthur then set them adrift in a vessel.
- How is the plan thwarted? A yeoman took a lone survivor in the wreck, who was Modred.
Study Guide Portion I: Merlin Guide[edit | edit source]
- unusual circumstances surrounding the birth of heroes (know Merlin and Uther’s deal): Merlin will disguise Uther to make Igraine go with him (for pleasure); in exchange, the child conceived must be brought to Merlin
- depiction/treatment of women: give examples (think of female types)
- Ambitious nobles/barons fight each other for Uther’s throne for years, but when Arthur is made king, how does he treat them? With mercy and kindness
- How do the commoners feel about Arthur? They support him to be king
- Where is he dubbed king? High Altar
- Why does Merlin want a child? What type of things does Merlin teach Arthur”? Kindness and compassion--(ex:--about dividing spoils of victory?)
- Literary technique of hyperbole—why exaggerate heroes in romances?
- How is Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “history” really British propaganda? It makes England’s Arthur something greater than what he is not in order to compete with France’s Charlemagne.
- note King Royns’ “fringed mantle” and violence of period—contrast with A’s goals
- Why does Merlin visit Bloyse and why is that significant? He could keep a significant record of King Arthur’s journey as it is something special and spectacular.
- What is the bargain with the Lady of the Lake? She gives the Exalibur and he gives her the head of either Sir Ballin/the young noblewoman who gave Sir Ballin in the sword.
- Merlin’s advice about the bastard Modred—how the plan failed: Told King Arthur to call babies born on May Day to arrive to the court and to send them on the vessel out into sea—it got into a crash but Modred survived and was raised by a yeoman.
Balin Guide[edit | edit source]
1. King Royns of West Britain refused to pay homage to Arthur and was marching to the land so Arthur called a council of war.
2. A young noblewoman interrupts. What hangs from her girdle? A sword and scabbard Because enchantment the sword can only be drawn by a knight of matchless courage and virtue. A further condition is both his mother and father must be of noble lineage.
3. Describe the situation in which we first find Sir Balin. Where has he been? He was raggedly dressed and shy from the assembly; prison for six months
4. What discussion is there of clothing and what does this indicate about feudal society? He excuses himself for having ragged clothing, which shows that poor, unattractive clothing is for the poor people and the beautiful, elegant clothing is for the rich people
5. Arthur “sets an example” by being the first to attempt to pull the sword from its scabbard. Who is successful? Balin Having won it, what does he say about the sword? Nothing will part me from it
What problem is set up by his refusal?
He, Balin, must fight against the man he loves the most
6. Arthur admits to what concerning Balin? He wrongly imprisoned him
And offers him what as an apology? He will be advanced to the barony if he remains at the court
Balin thus praises Arthur’s generosity
7. The Lady of Avalon rides back onto the scene. She had given Arthur a magic sword (Excalibur)
What are her demands?
The head of the knight who won the sword (Sir Balin), or the head of the woman who gave it to him (young noblewoman)
8. Arthur refuses her terms because he is a Christian king.
What is Balin’s response?
He beheads the Lady of Avalon Then what is Arthur’s response to Balin’s action?
Arthur calls Balin a criminal. He is exiled from the court.
9. Balin’s brother is named Sir Balan. He heard Balin had been released from prison. Being his brother, what does he decide to do with Balin? He is going to aid Balin in the challenge against King Royns
10. MEANWHILE, a dwarf from King Arthur’s court happens along, notices the dead bodies of the 2 lovers and says what? King Arthur will never forgive Sir Balin for his actions and he will be met with death by the king’s kin.
11. King Mark of Cornwall rides by and has compassion for the dead lovers and searches for a worthy tomb. Merlin issues a prophesy about what will happen on this spot. What will happen and which 2 knights will be involved?
A huge battle will take place between two lovers Sir Launcelot du Lake and Sir Tristram
- 12. Merlin tells Balin that his inability to save the maiden was a disaster. What is the consequence? He will strike the most fateful blow since that struck Jesus Christ. An honorable king will be severly injured and three kingdoms will be destroyed.
(This is a very important prediction. Write the sentence on p. 48 (older book) exactly from the text.
“In consequence, you will strike the most fateful blow since that struck at our Saviour: three kingdoms will be laid waste for twelve years, and an honorable king incurably wounded [This blow will be known as the Dolorous Stroke—dolor means sorrow]. When this blow occurs, ”three kingdoms will be laid waste for twelve years, and an honorable king incurably wounded”.
13. Merlin warns Balin and Balan that King Roynes and his knights are approaching. They overcome Royns but he asks that he be spared since he is worth a ransom alive.
Royns is carried back where? Palace Guard in front of Arthur
Does he win favor? Yes
14. Merlin warns of Royns’ brother, King Nero advancing for an invasion. Merlin then appears to King Lot on the Island of Orkney who had pledged his aid to Nero. Lot also had another issue with Arthur—what was it? He has to attack him, according to the Merlin, and he is the one destined to die.
15. King Pellinore has thrown his support to Arthur along with Balin and Balan while King Lot and the 11 kings advance. King Pellinore kills King Lot. His (King Lot) son is Modred who will later avenge his father’s death.
16. What are 4 more important prophesies?
1) Extinction of candles after Arthur’s death, who will be in Sir Modred’s hands at the Battle of Salisbury
2) Accomplishment of the quest of the Holy Grail by knights of the Round Table
3) Forthcoming theft of Arthur’s sword by the woman he trusted most
4) Fateful blow to be struck by Sir Balin
5) Birth of King Uryens’ son Sir Bagdemagus
17.Who is the “invisible rider”? Sir Galot
What does he look like? Black-faced
Who kills the invisible knight? Sir Balin It is rather vividly described: “Next, taking the spear shaft from the young noblewoman, he plunged it deeply into Sir Garlot’s body, and blood flowed from the wound” (36)
18. The deceased invisible knight had been the brother of King Pellam who then mounts an attack against Balin. Balin runs through Pellam’s castle. In an eerie room, there was a richly furnished bed with a corpse covered with a gold cloth. Placed on a small gold-topped table with silver legs, Balin sees a finely wrought spear. Pellam is charging at him so, just in time, Balin seizes this spear to strike Pellam. Balin did not know the power of this weapon or its long and profound history. It is the spear of Longinus with a biblical history. The owner was the Roman soldier who used it to spear the side of Christ on the cross.
So how then does it end up in England in the castle of King Pellam, according to the crafters of the Arthurian tales? (start with Christ’s entombment) It had been brought to England by Joseph of Arithmaea
So who do you think the corpse is under the golden cloth? Joseph of Arithmaea
Skip 19, 20, and 21—we will do them in class—Resume questions on #22
19. OK, so to recap: Balin seizes the spear as Pellam charges him in the castle and Balin strikes a blow against the King. The power of the holy relic is so great, however, that what happens in the castle? The huge blow destroys everyone in the castle except Balin and Pellam This blow is known as the dolorous stroke.
So, as Merlin has prophesied, as a result of this blow, 3 adjacent kingdoms were laid waste for a period of 12 years and King Pellam’s wound would remain open until a knight of matchless purity could successfully procure another powerful holy relic: Holy Grail. Water poured from this chalice has healing power because of the 2 holy ways it was used. That knight of perfect purity will be Sir Galahad.
20. Now King Pellam is referred to as The Wounded King or the Maimed King. He is wounded in the groin (dolorous stroke) He is even sometimes called the Fisher King because he can no longer ride on a horse as his sport, so he has to take up fishing!
21.The next part is hard to understand because we are Americans. Remember in England, the King is the Country and the Country is the Land. So when something is wrong with the king, the whole country has something wrong with it. In this case, the king is wounded. It is significant that his wound is in the groin because this means he cannot reproduce. So the same is true with the whole country. It is a wastland. It is infertile and will not grow crops. The earth cannot renew itself until the Maimed King is healed and fertility is restored. There is an overlay here in the Arthurian tales of the Christian symbolism of renewal because the Holy Grail can only be found by the purest of characters, but there is also an echo of the pagan rites of renewal and fertility.
22. Back to p. 53, Balin says goodbye to Merlin and rides through the ruined landscape and desolate cities of 3 kingdoms where many had died. Those who could still speak spoke to him accusingly: “Knight of the Two Swords, this is you doing; but vengeance will be done.
23. Sir Balin comes to a stone cross warning: It is for no knyght alone to ryde toward this castel.
and an old man echoes this warning, but Balin rides on. The lady of the castle tells him he must fight the Knight of the Island. A knight gave him a shield that was larger than his own saying. A lady observes it has no device for his friends to be able to recognize him. He saw a knight all in red and at first thought it resembled his brother, Sir Balan, but then saw no device on his shield so supposed he was wrong. After a fierce battle of many hours the Red Knight was collapsed and was mortally wounded. Balin tells him he is the most formidable knight he has ever fought and asks his name. The Red Knight responds he is Sir Balan. Balin realizes he and his dear brother have killed each other (the prophecy came true). Balin begged that they would be buried in the same tomb.
24. Merlin appeared on the morning after the burial and wrote this inscription: “Here lyeth Sir Balin Le Savage (meaning “the beast”): Knyght of the Two Swerdes who struck the dolorous stroke” Merlin made a new hilt for Balin’s sword and it became enchanted.
Study Guide Portion II, Sir Balin[edit | edit source]
Name 3 of Balin’s violent actions/ bad consequences with a woman, a relative, & a king
- He killed the Lady of Avalon since she wanted Sir Balin's head.
- He ended up killing Sir Balan, his brother, prophesized.
- He injured King Pellam's groin, causing infertility issues in the lands, three kingdoms wasted and the Earth (land) in terrible trouble.
What is the reason for the Quest of the Holy Grail?
- To restore fertility to the land.
Know the fertility connection, 2 major relics brought to England
- Spear of Longenis
- Holy Grail
The Round Table[edit | edit source]
1. King Arthur has held a tournament at Maiden’s Castle. A knight with a plain black shield has distinguished himself above all others. The knight is Sir Tristram de Lyoness who is from Cornwall. King Mark of Cornwall is mad that a knight from Cornwall would fight for another king (Arthur) and win honor in his realm.
2. The Code of the Round Table includes what vow?
“We do not wittingly enter into combat with one another”
3. Who brings shame to the Round Table and why?
Sir Gaheris; Exiling Sir Tristam since no one could handle him.
4. Know the Code and some of the various rules it entails:
Killing in fair combat is fair Killing someone in treachery is unfair Challenges must be face-face A fresh knight cannot challenge a weary knight
7. The device used by Sir Tristram in the tournament has 3 figures on it—a king and queen and a third figure, a knight, displayed in what way? A king and a queen is above them, standing with one foot on the head of a knight. The king and queen are Arthur and Gwynevere and the knight is Sir Launcelot. This was devised in order to discomfort all of these three, since she was jealous of the Queen.
8. This shield was devised by Morgan le Fay in order to discomfort the 3 of them since she was jealous of the Queen Gwynevere. Tristram, however, was unaware of this and agreed to use it at the tournament. Gwynevere understood the meaning but Arthur did not and so asked aloud. One of Morgan’s maids says it “represents the shame which has fallen upon yourself and Queen Gwynevere,” whereupon Arthur was angered.
9. On p. 249, Arthur tells Tristram that if you are to bear arms, you should know their meaning.
10. He and Tristram fight for 4 hours, “full tilt.” The knight is Sir Launcelot du Lake, the man Tristram loves most in the world.” Both kneel and offer each other his sword as a “token of yielding” they removed their helmets and kissed 100 times.
Besides skill in war, knights had to be well-rounded in sporting academic accomplishments. He was first in the arts of hunting and hawking first in the measures of speech; first in the skills of music. Accomplishments in the arts distinguish a gentleman!
What does Arthur bestow upon him? A seat in the round table.
General things to know from Arthurian Legend ppt. in Schoology. (We will do in class together)
1. What is radical about the Round Table? It goes against hierarchy Why in this age was that a revolutionary concept? Because it shows that everyone can eat together and everyone is equal, which wasn’t the norm back then.
Study Guide Portion III, The Round Table[edit | edit source]
From “The Round Table”
Why is the table radical? It shows that everyone is eating together on the same degree/level; aka everybody is equal, which was very different to those times.
Know the Code—do’s and don’t’s
This has great significance for England as an ideal, as a model for what? Code of Chivalry
How is the Code still with us today? Honour Code
With the introduction of Sir Tristram, we see knights as much more than warriors—what accomplishments in all areas distinguish a knight? Hunting and hawking, music, etc. How does this figure into the growing the concept of a “gentleman”? They've well-rounded
What does Arthur tell Tristram a knight who is worthy to bear arms must know? Their device meaning Symbolism of a knight’s “device”: As their identification
Malory's Fair Maid[edit | edit source]
“The Fair Maid of Astolat” pp. 439-453
Malory’s story of Elaine’s unrequited love for Lancelot is poignant. This is a key tenet of the romance. Women readers loved the theme—remember how much lovers can suffer in the Courtly Love genre.
Elaine of Astolat is different from the other Elaines we have encountered. There are so many Elaines in Arthurian legend, it is hard to keep them straight. Here is a list: (See http://www.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian _legend/ladies/elaines/elaines.htm)
1.What is the origin of this popular name? (HINT: Think of the French pronunciation where ‘h’s” are silent). Elaine is from the name, Helen of Troy. Helen of Troy was a very beautiful lady and that is why her name is popular since what was prized in girls back then was beauty.
2. In Malory’s tale of “The Fair Maid of Astolat,” explain what unusual thing happens at the tournament. Two knights with white shields (Sir Launcelot and Sir Lavayne) were the stars at the tourney. The greater one, Sir Launcelot, was wearing a red sleeve [token] (so that King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table do not know that he is there and so that he gets to fight a lot) at his helmet, and probably overthrew about 40 of his opponents.
3. Explain how Elaine comes to nurse Lancelot and what happens with his shield. Elaine, daughter of Sir Bernard of Astolat, nursed Lancelot with great care, to the point that no one has ever nursed so carefully and lovingly as her; His shield is swapped in for another shield, the shield belonging to Sir Tirry in an attempt to go “incognito”. He also took Elaine’s token of love in order to note be recognized.
4. How does Gwynevere react? She is extremely angry at this and she believes he has betrayed her; she hopes that he would die for his betrayal.
5. Explain the drastic action Elaine takes. Due to her great love and sadness for Sir Launcelot, she remains 10 days without eating or sleeping in her bed. She eventually became pale and feeble and could no longer bear the minimum requirements of life.
Letter: ‘Death ends the argument of our love, I die a virgin, pray for my soul’
Lancelot du Lake[edit | edit source]
In what two things were Lancelot supreme as a knight?
2. What knight pursues other knights and lock them in his castle while Lancelot sleeps?
3. How did Sir Ector know that knights of the Round Table were at Sir Tarquine’s?
He recognized their shields 4. How did Morgan le Fay and her aristocratic entourage travel?
Using white mules, knights for support/protection, and a green silk canopy to protect themselves from the sun. 5. What does Morgan le Fay propose concerning Lancelot?
Take him as prisoner so he can choose which queen he shall take as a lover 6. Why do the queens want him? He is very handsome and good-looking. 7. To whom has Lancelot sworn fidelity? Queen Gwynevere 8. What choice does Morgan present Lancelot with? Take one of us as a lover, or die. 9. Who saves Lancelot and what does she ask in return? The young noblewoman that served him supper; Champion her father at a tournament. Who is her father? King Bagdemagus 10. What strange thing happens with Lancelot and Sir Belleus? Sir Belleus thought Sir Lancelot was a woman, so he came up to him while he was sleeping and started kissing him. 11. Name 3 traits for which Lancelot is known. a) Appearance
12. What does Belleus’s paramour suggest as recompense for her injury to her night?
Suggest Knight Belleus to King Arthur as one of the greatest knights at the Round Table 13.What does Lancelot tell the lady on the paltry he is searching for? An adventure 14 . Why does Sir Tarquine hate Sir Lancelot? Sir Lancelot killed Sir Tarquine’s brother, Sir Corodos of the Dolorous Tower. As a result, he has maimed scores of knights and kept them as prisoners. 15. What is the result of their battle? Sir Lancelot gains the advantage when Sir Tarquine fainted and lowered his shield. Sir Lancelot then dragged Sir Tarquine down to his knees and beheaded him after taking his helmet off. 16. Why does Lancelot say he fought? Vindicate the honor of the knights of the Round Table. 17. What 3 things do the knights help themselves to at Tarquine’s castle? a) Their armor
b) Their horses
c) Castle treasure
18. Why does Lancelot say he will never marry nor take a paramour? He will have knight attend his wife rather than go on adventures and go to tournaments; Fear of God and the belief that a paramour, whether victorious or not, will find a shameful result in an encounter with a knight with a purer heart. 19. How many ladies were kept prisoner by giants? 60 20. What task did they have to perform and why did they consider it so bad? Serve the giants; They had to work low-life jobs: silk embroidery 21. Whose castle is this? King Tintagil 22. On p. 129 the rule “three against one is unjust” reflects the Code. Note the talk of yielding, swearing on the sword, all the rules of engagement. These codified rules are the first moral rules/laws.
23. Explain what happens at Chapel Perelous. Sir Launcelot rode to Chapel Perelous. Here, he went inside the Chapel. He then cut off a small piece of Sir Gylberd’s corpse (the ground shook beneath him once he did that) and then took his sword. He was confronted by one of the knights in black armor in front of the castle. He was threatened with death if he did not return the sword. Sir Launcelot refused. A beautiful noblewoman came by and repeated the same threat the knights threatened with. Sir Lancelot refused again. This refusal by Sir Lancelot meant that his love for Queen Gwynevere lasted. The lady that threatened Sir Lancelot with death asked that Sir Lancelot kissed her, but he refused. 24. Who loved Lancelot for 7 years and what was her plan? Lady Hallews of the Castle Nygurmous. Once thwarted, what did she die of? A broken heart 25. Describe the adventures that lead to Lancelot becoming the most famous knight in Arthur’s court.
a) Fighting with Sir Tarquine, freeing 64 prisoners at his victory. b) Saved Sir Kay’s life against three attackers and exchanged armor with him so he goes unchallenged. c) Made Sir Gawtere, Sir Gylmere and Sir Raynolde yield to Sir Kay as prisoners.
Lancelot and Elaine[edit | edit source]
The setting is Whitsun (7th Sunday after Easter--Pentecost) in the year before Sir Galahad is born.
1. What is Siege Perelous (or how is it perilous to most people) and why does no one sit at it yet? Dangerous seat at the round table; It is the seat which the knight that will attain the Holy Grail will sit in. recap: “siege/syege” means a seat and “peril” means something that causes harm.
(Also note in power point on Arthurian Legend the parallel between Lancelot’s betrayal of Arthur, his brother knight of the Round Table with Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus at the Last Supper—Betrayal brings danger or peril to both tables)
2. What does the hermit predict concerning the Siege Perelous? The appointed knight for the Siege Perelous will be born this year
3. King Pelles rides up (he is the son of King Pellam so botdescendantsndents of Joseph of Arimathea) and takes Lancelot to his castle where the Holy Grail mystically and suddenly appears carried by a noblewoman. What is the richest gift on earth? The Holy Grail How does it appear? As a gold vessel 4. What does King Pelles secretly wish Lancelot would do (unusual for a father)? Marry his daughter to a young, handsome knight (Lancelot) and get her pregnant; he wanted this grandchild to be his own. Why does he do this? It is said that the child conceived with Sir Lancelot would be the purest knight of all time and win the Holy Grail (Sir Galahad). 5. What “arrangements” does the enchantress Lady Brusen make for King Pelles what is the result? She told King Pelles that the only lady Sir Lancelot loves is Queen Gwynevere, and that Elaine should come to the Castle of Case with 25 knights.
6. What are Lancelot’s feelings concerning the trick? He forgives Elaine, but wants to seek revenge on Lady Brusen
7. Sir Galahad is born and christened. Sir Bors, Lancelot’s nephew, cannot take his eyes off the child because he so resembles Sir Lancelot. Bors prays that the son might be as great a knight as his father, whereupon a white dove flies through the window with a gold censer in its beak and again the Holy Grail miraculously appears. The noblewoman carrying the grail tells Bors this child Galahad will sit at Siege Perelous and will win the Holy Grail. He shall not only equal his father, Sir Lancelot, he will surpass him
8. When the news of the birth of Galahad reached the court, how did Qwynevere feel toward Elaine and Lancelot? She is jealous of Elaine and angry with Lancelot
When he describes the enchantment, though that was not his fault, Gwynevere forgave Sir Lancelot.
9. King Arthur had been in France and when he returns he orders a feast to celebrate his victory. What request does King Pelles make of his daughter concerning her dress for the occasion when he grants her permission to go to the feast? Dress up well as it befits her high rank
10. Once again, the enchantress Lady Brusen causes a mixup in the chamber of the castle. Describe what happens. Elaine does not like Sir Lancelot’s coldness and Lady Brusen tells her that she will be sleeping in his arms later. Lady Brusen disguises herself as a messenger and disguised Elaine as the queen. Lady Brusen leads Sir Lancelot to Elaine’s chamber.
11. Lancelot is so unnerved by this episode, what happens? He faints, awakens, jumps out of the castle and runs away. He isn’t heard from for 2 years.
Knights went in search of him but he wandered alone and naked and had gone mad. (This is one of the elements of the Courtly Love romance that the women readers adored. Men would be so heartsick with love for them or so upset from their anger or removal of favor that the knight would turn pale, be unable to eat, languish, and in extreme cases, go mad).
12. After being nursed back to health, Lancelot had many adventures, one with a wild boar which wounded him deeply. A monk took him to a monastery and doctored his wounds, but Lancelot refused to eat, lost his wits again and fled. He had grown so wild in his appearance he was unrecognizable and beggars and children pelted him with filth and stones. For a while he was supposed to be the court fool until finally his health was restored by the virtues of the Holy Grail whereupon his reason returned.
13. Finally, a tournament is to be held and Lancelot decides to go and fight under an assumed name, Le Shyvalere Mafete. 500 knights take up his challenge and in 3 days, Lancelot overthrew them. Lancelot is the greatest fighter in the court of King Arthur.
14. In the end Lancelot returned to the Court of King Arthur, having recovered, but all his kin knew well for what lady he had lost all his reason for so long: Princess Elaine A feast was held in his honor and the Court rejoiced at his return and in his recovery of his reason.
Sir Percivale, Galahad and the Miracles[edit | edit source]
From The Tale of the Sangreal: The Grail Knights are Percivale, Bors, & Galahad
- Assignment is split into 2 parts: Read Percivale for Friday 11/9 and do the guide below, questions 1-7 on Sir Percivale.
For Monday, do Part II, the Miracle of Sir Galahad
Part I of the guide to the Grail Knights is Sir Percivale on p. 379, new 391. (We will look at Sir Galahad’s separate tale as a class).
Part II of the guide is the Miracle of Sir Galahad, p. 425, new 442, due Monday
1. Sir Percivale goes to a hermitage and kneels before a recluse who turns out to be his aunt. She is now in poverty but is happier than when she had great riches, when she was known as the Queen of the Waste Lands.
2. She told Percivale that when Merlin prophesied that the quest of the Holy Grail would be accomplished by fellows of the Round Table, he was asked by whom it would be and he replied: “By three white bulls, two of whom shall be virgins, the third of whom shall be chaste, and the third shall surpass his father in strength and endurance as the lion surpasses the leopard” (The first 2 represent Percivale and Bors and the third represents Galahad)
3. Merlin was then asked if he would ordain a special place for this knight and he devised the Siege Perelous. The knight who sat there with the white shield was Sir Galahad.
4. Percivale had a strange dream about two ladies—the old lady was mounted on a serpent and the young lady was riding a lion. these represented A warning of a great fight with the world’s most powerful champion. He will lose and will be disgraced for all eternity. (the old lady and serpent) Percivale killed this lady’s serpent. In recompensation, she requested him to serve her. But he refused. She then threatened that when he is unprotected she will take him for her own. (the young lady and lion) What does the holy man tell him this means? The younger lady warned Percivale of the great fight he will face against the world’s most powerful champion in the world due to her love for Jesus Christ. The older lady didn’t like Percivale because he killed the charger which carried him to the sea by making the cross sign. She requested him to renounce his faith, in which he refused to do so. ‘ 5. Explain Percivale’s encounter with the lady who tells him that it us the priest who is misleading him (enchanting him with his words), not her.
He meets her after she arrives on a ship to the island. She then tells him that she comes from the Waste Forest and that she has met the Red Knight. Percivale then swears to be under her command. She eventually tells Sir Percivale that the old man that came and interpreted his dream was a liar. She tells him that if he believes that old man than he is determined to die in that island as a hungry man.
She reminds him that as a Knight of the Round Table, he is sworn to help ladies in distress so she asks that he does not refuse her.
6. Explain how Percivale almost (but not quite) yielded to the temptation of this temptress: Because she was giving him a lot of food and wine
7. What are some of the amazing Courtly Love elements women would have loved in this tale? The man was begging for her as a lover.
Be aware of the opera Parsifal by Wagner which follows this Knights further exploits. In some of the romances, Percivale finds the Grail, but in most, he is denied the Grail because he asks the wrong question. He SHOULD have asked the question “WHOM does the grail serve?” or have asked the King “What ails thee?” (instead of merely being concerned with the powers of the grail) So Whom does the Grail serve? Those who serve [Class notes will be done together on p. 407, new 421 Sir Galahad]
There is a bed that they, the knights, find when they look for solomon’s ship which is made out of green wood (growth and fertility), red wood (Cain killing Abel; tree turning blood red due to the murder), white wood (innocent and purity). knights went out to solomon's ship. He got it from a tree that was planted in the garden of Eden from Eve. Sir Percivale found that his sister cut all of her beautiful hair and she made it into a belt. The sword that hung from this belt which was Sir Percivale was the Sword of the Strange Gurtle. They were special since they were told to give up their earthly beauty and serve God with a mind on their lives on heaven.
Part II of this guide is “The Miracle of Sir Galahad” pp. 425-431, 442-448
There are really 7 miracles recounted in the tale. List them.
1) Sir Galahad caused King Modred to turn young again before he died; he healed his wounds.
2) After he touched a well full with boiling water, the water cooled and the well had his name on it.
3) He approached a burning tomb which held a soul (King Badgemagus) that was suffering for three centuries [Sir Galahad’s kinsman]—the flames flickered and died off thanks to his presence.
4) Sir Galahad was able to put the spear of longenes that which wounded Joseph of Artihmaea’s thighs back together again
5) The Holy Grail appeared; the bishop picks up the host, dips it into the wine, and instead of coming out as a wafer; it comes out as a baby (Baby Jesus). Baby Jesus morphs into Big Jesus somehow.
6) Sir Galahad healed the Maimed King by touching the bloody spear of longenes then touching him.
7) He told a crippled man to rise and forget that he was crippled; he was subsequently healed
Explain what happened to Galahad in the end.
Before he dies, he gives a prayer to Jesus that he leaves this world. He is granted that wish and he is met by Joseph of Arithmeae, who tells him that he resembles him by witnessing the Holy Grail and by being a virgin.
What is his ultimate reward after being awarded the Holy Grail?
He gets to die young and behold his lord’s majesty. He wants to die since the sooner you get to the heaven, the happier you will be since you get to reunite with God and leave this terrible earth.
Study Guide Portion IV, Lancelot, Lancelot and Elaine, Percivale, Galahad, and the Miracle of Galahad[edit | edit source]
- From “Lancelot, Lancelot and Elaine, Percivale, Galahad, and the Miracle of Galahad:”
- Courtly love, the romance genre, how a knight acts, who is the audience, why the appeal? Women so it can bring in more interest to the books
- When a knight carries his lady’s sleeve as a token in a joust, what does this fulfill for the lady? Love for the knight? A change in disguise What is a knight’s major conflict concerning fidelity in the courtly love scheme? (think of the 3 entities he must serve) He loves Queen Gwynevere, but he must serve King Arthur and cannot betray him and violate God's laws.
- Think of how women are described in Lancelot’s tales—Morgan, Lady Halleus, Lady Brusen, Elaine (& even her father) as far as a concept of what makes a woman powerful.
- Elaine’s ancestry contributes what to her love child, Sir Galahad? Beauty
- Lancelot, Galahad’s father, gives his son what attributes? (remember the boar, 500 jousts) Strength
- What is the clear parallel?
- Major overlay of Christian symbolism concerning Galahad’s purity
- The quest for the Grail takes Galahad, Bors and Percivale to the ship where the only people who can board must have perfect faith—know the symbolism of the wood that made the bed spindles. Tree of Eve
- Sir Percivale’s sister’s Strange Girdle that holds the sword is made of what? Sir Percival's hair Why is this symbolic as to what a good Christian should give up? Should give up worldly duties for the life after this life (for heaven)
- Galahad achieves the Grail. How does he restore the Maimed King? Touching the bloody spear of Longines and then the Maimed King Why is this necessary? Restore the kingdom's fertility and proserpation
- What is Galahad’s reward for achieving the Grail? He gets to die young
- What is the significance of his last words?