This essay Arthurian Legend has a total of 1765 words and 7 pages.
King Arthur and the knights of the round table belong to a long line of books and stories of the Arthurian legend. Merlin, Lancelot, The lady of the lake, King Arthur, and Excaliber are all very important in the Arthurian legend. In this essay we will talk about King Arthur, the knights of the round table, and Merlin in the famous story, The sword in the stone.
The Sword in the stone is a book about an adopted child named wart. He is of royal blood and does not know this. One day when Wart is in the forest, he finds a magician named Merlin. Merlin comes home with Wart and agrees with Sir Ector, Wart’s guardian, to become Wart’s tutor. Merlin goes about educating Wart by Transforming him into different animals. Through each transformation Wart experiences different forms of power, each being a part of how he should rule as king.
The first transformation takes Wart and Merlin into the castle’s moat as a fish. They then meet the largest fish in the moat, which is an alligator who is the ruler. The alligator takes what he wants because of his size. In a speech about power, he tells Wart that “Might is right,” and might of the body is greater than might of the mind. Because of the way the alligator rules, his subjects obey him out of fear for their lives. Wart experiences this firsthand when the gator tells him to leave. He has grown bored of Wart, and if Wart does not leave he will eat him. The king uses his size as his claim to power, therefore his subjects follow him out of fear.
In Wart’s next transformation into a hawk, he soars into the castle’s mews. All the birds into the mews have a military rank. Their leader is an old falcon, who Sir Ector keeps just for show. The birds who rank below the falcon, hold her in the highest regard because of her old age. She applies her power over the other birds with no concern for their lives. In one instance, Wart is ordered to stand next to the cage of a crazy hawk who almost kills him. On the other hand, her seasoned age brings respect, since she had not been released once she outlived her usefulness as a hunter. This allows her to maintain a powerful grip over all the birds she rules through fear and respect.
In Wart’s next make over Wart is transformed into an ant and posted within an ant colony. There is a single leader of the ants, and she is the only thinking individual in the whole nest. All the ants are manipulated and overseen by her. Each ant and has specific task, which it completes repeatedly. The absolute power exerted by the leader destroys all individualism, leaving the ants with no creativity. Instead, they use trail and error to complete tasks that should take only a small amount of thought. Wart sees this occur when an ant tries with difficulty to organize three cadavers in a small burial chamber, when a small amount of reasoning would of solved the problem quickly. The ants are of a collective mind, so that what one thinks, they all think. They go about their daily lives oblivious to the control the leader has over them.
In the final transformation Wart visits the badger. The badger is a great philosopher who enjoys giving scholarly commentaries. While Wart is visiting him, he explains a story he has written on the creation of the animal kingdom’s hierarchy. In his commentary he explains how man answered God’s riddle and is awarded control over the animal kingdom. He lives a life of solitude because many other animals do not think at his level. They listen he is old and experienced, and with this comes respect.
Through each of his transformations, Wart sees different uses of power. Wart must choose how he will eventually govern his kingdom. The leaders he visits, govern in their own way, each retaining their power through different methods. When these are combined, the following picture of how a leader should or should not rule emerges. A leader should not attempt to rule his or her people through might and fear, as does the gator.
Topics Related to Arthurian Legend
Merlin, Holy Grail, Knights of the Round Table, Welsh mythology, Cornish people, Lancelot, Sir Ector, King Arthur, Guinevere, Lady of the Lake, Layamon, The Once and Future King
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