Morte d’ Arthur





In order to create an interesting story, one must combine a number of elements. Those elements should captivate the reader’s attention. Things required to entertain a reader have changed over time. Nowadays, all that is needed is a little lust combined with an impossible action‑filled plot. But in the days of knights and kings; lords and ladies; kings and queens; and honorable battles‑realism, magic, and a touch of religion kept the reader begging for more. Sir Thomas Malory capitalized on the ending of chivalry in his tale of Morte d’Arthur.


In the opening of the selection from the tale, King Arthur dreams of his death and then follows the advice given to him by his fallen nephew. What a display of human superstition to dream of the end of his "immortal" reign and then take action to stop it. Misconception is a common human error. Is it plausible to assume that in the middle ages an adder could start a war? Its entirely plausible and realistic. The battle between Sir Mordred, King Arthur, and their men occurred due to a snake bite. All of the men were on edge because they didn’t trust each other. Blood was shed without probable cause. A simple human error. Human emotion is referred to as a "mortal trait". So it’s no surprise that Sir Lucan felt such loyalty to King Arthur that he stood by his side and helped him until his own entrails fell out and his heart exploded. It’s also no surprise that Sir Bedivere lamented the loss of his brother. This is where heroic deeds are forgotten and the humanity of the tale steps into play. Men have been categorized in previous tales as being greedy. Though Sir Bedivere was loyal to King Arthur, when Arthur asked him to dispose of Excalibur(his sword) in the nearby waters, Bedivere could not see throwing such treasure away, and instead decided to hide it. But Arthur knew him to be lying when he reported that he saw nothing. In the end, Bedivere’s loyalty won out and he disposed of Excalibur as was asked of him.


In the Middle Ages, sorcery and magic was a large part of heroic tales. Hero’s often battled with magical creatures or faced odds controlled by magic. In Morte d’Arthur, King Arthur deals with magical happenings. When he dreams of his death, he sees serpents and wild beasts not normally seen. Serpents are trademarks for the existence of magic. Serpents portray all that man fears embodied in a horrifying creature. In his dream, Arthur is torn apart by the serpents, beasts, and worms. Later in the tale, when Arthur is mortally wounded, he asks Bedivere to throw Excalibur in the water and to tell him what he sees. Bedivere, however hid the sword under a tree and lied to Arthur. Arthur knew that Bedivere was lying when he claimed to have seen nothing in the water. When Bedivere overcame his urges to be greedy, and properly disposed of Excalibur, out of the depths of the water, he saw an arm and a hand reach up and grab the sword. The arm then shook the sword three times and took it under. Another magical circumstance occurred when Bedivere took Arthur to the waters edge. There they saw a boat with maidens and a queen come to take Arthur the Avilion‑a place where badly wounded kings went to heal. The barge appeared out of nowhere to take King Arthur away.



Religion played an important role in many lives during the middle ages. It would only make sense that some religious sentiments would be included in this heroic tale. In this tale, religion is used as reason for Gawain to come to Arthur and warn him of his future demise."God hath sent me to you of his special grace to give you warning that in no wise ye do battle as tomorn," "And now I see thee on‑live, much am I beholden unto Almighty Jesu." After King Arthur leaves for Avilion, Sir Bedivere wanders through a forest and finds a chapel where he discovers that Arthur is dead. He fasts and mourns with the hermit who lives there. Bedivere consoles himself with his belief in God and justifies all that has happened through