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The Once And Future King Essay

1801 words - 8 pages

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 entered unchallenged. Uther went to Igraine and Arthur was conceived. Gorlois was killed when fighting the royal army and Uther then married Igraine. When Arthur was born, Uther had him raised in secrecy. Arthur grows up never knowing that he is a prince and the most well known part of the legend begins.
Uther reigned for another 15 years, until his health began to fail and he was poisoned by the Saxons. The most widely accepted myth says that Arthur wins acknowledgement as king by pulling a sword from a stone, after which Merlin reveals Arthur’s true parentage. Despite his young age, Arthur proves to be an able warrior and a noble king and manages to push the Saxon invaders out of Britain. Arthur possessed the sword Excalibur, which was given to him by the inscrutable Lady of the Lake. Arthur surrounded himself with loyal followers that became known as the Knights of the Round Table. Like every good legend, Arthur had a nemesis, his sister Morgan le Fay. Morgan le Fay is usually an evil sorceress who spends her time attempting to steal Arthur’s throne for her and her lover. Mordred, or Modred, is another enemy of Arthur’s. Mordred is either Arthur’s son or nephew by his sister Morgawse. Mordred seizes Arthur’s throne...

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