The Queen of Air and Darkness


In the Queen of Air and Darkness Morgause raises four boys. She is not
a good mother, and she does not give her boys a sense of right and wrong. She
often ignores them for days at a time and beats them when they displease her.
She acts as if they were pets rather than human beings, to be loved or not at
her convenience . But despite this common maltreatment, the boys turn out very
differently.
Gawaine is the oldest of the boys and in many ways the most normal. He
becomes a knight in Arthur\'s court, fighting for him loyally. The way in which
he is affected by his upbringing is his rages. When provoked Gawaine goes into
a berserk rage in which he does things he would normally never do. When Gawaine
and Agravaine are arguing over whether or not to write a letter to their father
about the knights, Agravaine refuses to say he is wrong, so Gawaine goes berserk
and attacks him. He does not simply beat him, but chokes him and slams his head
against the floor until Gareth pulls him off. If Gareth had not been there,
Gawaine very well might have killed his younger brother. Gawaine even kills a
women when worked up to a rage. These rages are a product of the unhealthy
childhood he endured.
The next child, Agravaine, is probably the least well adjusted of the
four. He tends to be sadistic and self-centered. The children were told the
tale of the King of Ireland by St. Toirdealbhach; the tale where the king gets a
head wound and can not be excited, but then he dies while trying to defend his
savior. Agravaine does not see any point in putting one\'s self in danger to
protect any one else. He says “It was silly, it did no good,” because he does
not understand the principal behind the story. He does not understand that
there are things other than yourself worth dying for. Agravaine\'s sadism is
evidenced in the Unicorn episode. After the boys agree to capture and not kill
the unicorn, Agravaine runs up behind it and begins stabbing it repeatedly. He
could not stand that the Unicorn ever leave him, so by killing it he thinks to
own it forever. Agravaine is the boy most like his mother, in that he can not
see past his own interests.
The next child Gaheris, seems to have little personality. He is
described as “a stolid child.” More often than not he seems to be just along
for the ride. He does not take part in the arguments. He generally just sits
back and watches. When Gawaine goes into a rage and attacks Agravaine, he does
not intercede on either boy\'s behalf. The only thing he does in the fight is to
take the dirk which had been flung from Agravaine\'s hand and ensure that it was
not recovered. He seems afraid of action. He prefers to take as passive a role
possible in confrontations. When Agravaine begins killing the unicorn, Gaheris
is the last to come out of hiding. When Gareth starts moaning over it being
dead, all Gaheris has to say is, “Anyway, now its dead.” Unlike Gawaine, Gareth
is reclusive and hesitant to act.
The final child, Gareth, is by far the kindest. He balances out
Agravaine\'s cruelty with his good will. When Agravaine is being beat by Gawaine,
Gareth saves his life by pulling Gawaine off him, despite the fact that Gawaine
was much larger than him. When Agravaine kills the Unicorn, Gareth tries to
stop him, and he then cries over the unicorn\'s death. Gareth seems to have the
disposition of a monk. He believes that the King of Ireland was correct to
attempt to save his savior despite his condition. Gareth puts the welfare of
other people before his own.
The four boys, all brought up in the same manner, have different and
balancing features. Gawaine is outgoing and quick to act, but he is balanced by
Gaheris who is reclusive and slow to action. Agravaine is sadistic and selfish,
but he is balanced by Gareth who is kind and generous. They compliment each
other and together are stronger than they can ever be apart.

Category: English