CHECKPOINT #1

Chosen Text: Le Morte d' Arthur

CHECKPOINT #2

Summary of Le Morte d’Arthur

Le Morte d’Arthur is the story of the rise and fall of the powerful kingdom widely known today more modernly within the story of King Arthur. Thomas Malory tells of both how the kingdom itself rose to such heights and power, an‍d also of the incidents that let to ‍it’s ‍inevitable downfall. The plot revolves around Arthur, son of the King, Uther Pendragon. According to legend, Arthur was able to remove the sword Excalibur from stone, which then in‍ return, made him take the place as King. Arthur is often in league with his close friend and advisor, Merlin the magician. Arthur grows to be a wise king, but is often at the throats of other rulers, which gives him multiple enemies. When in power, Arthur eventually pulls together the Knights of the Round Table. This is after he marries his love, Guinevere, and the table is meant to reserve a spot for all of his knights that behave in a chivalrous manner, somewhat signifying a prideful place among the “greats”. After a series of conflicts that develop throughout the quest for the Holy Grail, as well as being betrayed by his own kin, the once great kingdom starts to decline. His close friend and knight Launcelot begins an affair with Guinevere, and his once closely knit band of brothers quickly becomes undone. After some convincing, Arthur decides to chase after Launcelot for vengeance, but his own son Mordred takes the throne while he is away. Mordred then attacks Arthur's army, resulting in a fight to the death between son and father. Arthur kills Mordred, but Arthur also dies from his wounds soon after. In the end, nearly all of the great men ‍were ‍lost, and the Round Table is no more. Main characters include: Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Launcelot, Galahad, Tristram, Mordred, Lot, Morgan le Fay, Gawain, Gareth, Percival, and Lamerok.


Annotated Bibliography

Pochoda, Elizabeth T. ‍Arthurian Propaganda: Le Morte d’Arthur as an historical ideal of life‍. University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

This book is written by Elizabeth Pochoda, who is a scholar located at the University of North Carolina. It is credible due to her ‍professional ‍statu‍s, as‍ well as her obvious use of contextual evidenc‍e, an‍d source recognition through her bibliography and scholarship pages. The ‍book ‍itself dives into early scholarship of Malory’s work, and some suggestions for further studies within his writings. Not only that, but it also speaks some about political theory associated with the Arthurian legend, and the lesson of life that can be observed within the original text. This will help my research immen‍sely, bec‍ause it looks at the story on a much larger scale than simply reading into the text. Also, the suggested information on further studies will be greatly appreciated.

Radulescu, Raluca L. ‍The Gentry Context for Malory’s Morte d’Arthur‍. Brewer, 2003.

This text is written by Raluca Radules‍cu, a‍nd is credible through his exten‍sive bibliography, as well as recognition by Questia, a trusted online research domain‍. His work includes multiple breakdown of the political scene during Malory’s‍ time, and ‍also the social understanding of friendship, fellowship, and lordship. This speaks much about governance and couns‍el, and‍ how it played a vital role in the story and times of which it is portrayed. This will help me further understand the comradery of the Knights of the Round Table‍, an‍d also how the government system worked between the kingdoms mentioned‍.

Svogun, Margaret DuMais. ‍Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur‍. Lang, 2000.

This book was written by Margaret Dumais Svogun, a scholar who’s credible due to her ‍work and publication found within the Library of Congress.‍ Also, she has done work for the ‍Salve Regina University.‍ The book itself goes into great detail on how ‍Romance ‍takes a role within the story as a whole, but also within its beloved characters. It talks of Knights and Archetypes, Balin and Gareth, Launcelot and Tristram. Many of these characters are complex individuals, all of which play a role within the tale and hide some certain symbolism. This source will help me discover many s‍ubtle meanings ‍throughout the te‍xt, a‍nd help me app‍roach it from a more specific angle ‍when looking back at‍ it’s ‍context for further research‍.

Critical Analysis/Close Readings of Le Morte d’Arthur

“Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England‍.” (pg. 7)

This quote is simple, but I chose it because this is what most people recognize from the entirety of the King Arthur story. This small circumstance was deemed impossible, yet foretold by Merlin’s prophecy, thus making Arthur the true King. This prophecy is a familiar one, mostly due to Arthur’s traits. He is a man, born unto a King yet raised by another family, who has completed a feat of ‍strength ‍in order to somehow differentiate him from all of the other kings of England. This is similar t‍o many medieval stories‍ where an individual, already seemingly born of greatness, does some great deed or feat in order to signify he or she is somehow better than the rest. It’s interesting that the sword being removed from the stone is what stuck with so many people over the years, and I question why it’s this that stands out among the other great ‍battle ‍and quests found within the novel‍.

“Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer on any earthly sinful man.” (pg. 713)

This quote begins to show the more spiritual, Christian side of the story. Although this is a simple gesture said to Launcelot about his misjudgments and wrongdoings against his comrades, it includes the mention of the “Maker”. It demonstrates some idea of judgement Launcelot will get from God for his sins, ‍and it is seen th‍at pride often gets in the way of his goals throughout the text. Given that “Pride” is one of the seven deadly sins, i‍t hardly seems coincidental t‍o include this flaw within one of the story’s main characters while mentioning faith/religion. Quests involving faith usually reflect Lancelot's situation in the text, where one goes through a trial of sorts in order to repent or make up for what may be flawed within the individual‍.

“Alas, that ever I bare crown upon my head! For now have I lost the fairest fellowship of noble knights that ever held Christian king together. Alas, my good knights be slain away from me: now within these two days I have lost forty knights, and also the noble fellowship of Sir Launcelot and his blood, for now I may never hold them together no more with my worship. Alas that ever this war began. “ (pg. 881-882)

This excerpt is from King Arthur himself, realizing that his days of high power and success within the kingdom of Camelot ‍is‍ crumbling. He is losing his great knights, and the Table is diminishing one by one. The most important part of this qu‍ote h‍owever, is how Arthur seems to realize he has disobeyed one of the greatest traits he held dear: chivalry. Chivalry meant much to King Arthur, like it did to mo‍st knights in the medieval era, ‍but by sentencing his love Guinevere to be burned at the stake he ‍had ‍broke ‍the chivalric code‍.

CHECKPOINT #3

Annotated Bibliography (continued)

Barron, William Raymond Johnston. The Arthur of the english: the arthurian legend in medieval english life and literature. University of Wales Press, 2011.

This book dives into the many different adaptations of King Arthur. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that it may be a good idea to see the multiple perspectives and elements used by different locations around the world, and what aspects relate or differ. The this text alone, I was able to gain insight into not only the English version, but also the French, the German, Iberian, and Welsh “King Arthur”.While Johnson does a wonderful job identifying these similarities and differences, he also lists and targets the certain varying traditions that are associated with the story (Celtic, Romance, Dynastic, etc.) which helps get an idea of what was expected or a trend of the culture/times. Johnson makes it clearly noted that many scholars have contributed to this book, and acknowledges their success and notable research, giving him valued credibility and knowledge of the subject matter.

Owen, Douglas David Roy, and Roger Sherman Loomis. The Development of Arthurian Romance. S.n., 1965.

This text highlights the origins and developments of my chosen text, Le Morte d’Arthur. It begins with an introduction to its origin story, and then dives deeper into the actual analytical view of certain characters and romances. It also includes a brief explanation of Sir Thomas Malory’s life, work, and beginning. There are multiple characters that are spoken of within this text, but it highlights the characters that may hold a more “romantic” persona, such as Merlin, Isolt, and Tristan. It is credible due to it’s extensive bibliography acknowledging the work of other scholars and co-authors, as well as its use of evidence. This source has been big help diving deeper into certain characters in the search for a more specific research topic.

Spivack, Charlotte, and Roberta Lynne. Staples. The company of Camelot: Arthurian characters in romance and fantasy. Greenwood, 1994.

This text has been the best help to developing a research topic thus far. Knowing full well that I was going to focus around a certain character and their representation, this book is exactly what I’m looking for. Spivack and Staples co-wrote this text and offer a detailed outlook on the eight major characters represented within the Arthurian legend, and how they have been portrayed/shown from the origin of the story to today’s literature. These characters include Gawain, Arthur, Morgan le Fay, Guenevere, Mordred, Merlin, and Lancelot. The text identifies the various depictions of each, and not only displays their evolution throughout literature, but also individual traits and analytical outlooks. This source was found within one of my original sources, Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

Reflection

Based on the research I have done so far, a large portion of scholars including the likes of Spivick, Staples, Svogun, and Pochoda have been concerned with the shift of character representation over time, and how certain characters are represented throughout Le Morte d’Arthur in general. Common discussions focus on the psychological aspect of certain characters such as King Arthur himself, and his incestous son and enemy, Mordred. With psychological elements at play, a different observation could be had for the entirety of the story and it’s plot by attempting to look at the reasoning behind certain actions taken with a new perspective. Another approach I’ve seen taken in Spivack and Staples work is taking on how certain representation of gender roles found within the text reflect on the character himself/herself as well as associated characters with their interactions. As I read more into this, the more it has intrigued me due to the understanding of the chivalrous code so faithfully followed my medieval knights during the time period. With chivalry playing such a vital role in both real life and the text of Le Morte d’Arthur, it’s interesting to see how characters like Queen Guenevere are treated and represented, and ultimately women as a whole. Going forth, I think I’ll be focusing more on the gender analysis aspect of research, and how certain women characters are depicted along with how their interactions play out with other male characters in a way that evidently influences the story.

Query

Being a long story, Le Morte d’Arthur offered plenty of opportunities for questions. Although King Arthur himself is one of the best known legendary characters, I often wondered “what made him such a great King?” Sure his prophecy was fulfilled, and the sword out of stone was an impressive feat of strength, but he has made plenty of bad judgement calls and regrettable decisions. This is realistic in the sense of an actual reigning King, as they are only human. However, in a legend of such renown and importance, along with fate at hand, it was strange for me to see such faults in Arthur at times. Another question that came up while I was reading was on the representation of marriage and love within the text, which eventually became my research focus. Love is a heavy theme found within Le Morte d’Arthur, and is portrayed in a few contradicting ways. Although it is clear that Arthur and Guenevere had once loved each other faithfully, Launcelot and Guenevere take on the more dangerous and unorthodox role of passionately true love. In other words, Guinevere and Arthur are your stereotypical “supposed to be” lovers, while Guenevere and Launcelot are the “meant for each other” lovers. This was interesting considering the Christian influence on the story. It was after I had read more into the approach of looking at gender roles within the text that I had begun to think more deeply about the love aspect, and is likely to be where I continue to research more information.
CHECKPOINT #4

ABSTRACT

As familiar and beloved the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is, there are many complexities and inquiries to be made surrounding it’s most prevalent themes. For example, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur includes a variety of interesting circumstances surrounding the idea of the chivalric code and the idea of love in its purest form. What does that mean? Is it, as many scholars insist, truly just another example of a text infatuated with adulterous tendencies within a Christian influenced frame? Or is it something deeper than this, ingrained in the identities of the characters and how they represent themselves both publicly and privately to their peers and lovers? Perhaps the sort of passionate true love that breaks the bounds of marriage isn’t just sinful adultery, but the sort of love that is true to the feelings of the individuals themselves on a level that's deeper than the bind they felt compelled to obey through religious laws. In modern times, marriage is looked at as more of a choice, and getting to the point of that relationship is a decision that requires plenty of thought and personal feelings of emotional attachment. In the times of King Arthur and Guinevere however, this was not the case. Marriage was more of an expected route that all women or men should participate in, regardless of personal attachment or feelings. It was a milestone to be made and if an individual was not to participate in, was looked down upon. Through close reading and evidential support found within Malory’s text, I intend to argue that the certain characters who have been tried for adulterous accounts were simply individuals who were acting out upon their personal feelings rather than the expected social norms. This is significant because although the many character strongly follows the chivalric code within the text, many seem to disobey the code or dishonor it’s laws in some way, much like the religious laws that the codes are rooted in. Due to the chivalric code having an influence on how one is perceived mostly publicly, it obscures from a character's private life and intentions. By arguing against the adulterous outlook often seen in the text, I can shed light upon the characters in a way that looks past their religiously sinful actions and introduce them in a more familiar and positive aspect that relates more to humanity rather than Christianity.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kennedy, Beverly. “Adultery in Malory's ‘Le Morte d'Arthur.’” Arthuriana, vol. 7, no. 4, 1997, pp. 63–91. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27869288.

This article is what started the fire in my found argument. Kennedy does a fantastic job meticulously pointing out the adulteration found within Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur text and connects it to the author's own idea of knighthood. By diving into the traits that constitute “knightly honor” such as a true, worshipful, heroic individual, Kennedy finds that the attitude towards the characters and their sins of adultery are ultimately enhanced in some way. She claims that “adultery is central to the story of King Arthur” and that this behavior was purposely put forward in order to introduce “emerging typology”. I was able to learn much about the argument made for this outlook, which in return helped me shape my argument against it. Kennedy puts her thoughts into a well organized and and thoughtful analysis of the behavior and actions of the knights and their associated adultery, which has developed my perspective greatly and with more logical thinking, considering I am able to see the entirety of the research and consider multiple sides of the argument as I come to my own conclusions.

Hodges, Kenneth. “Wounded Masculinity: Injury and Gender in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.” Studies in Philology, vol. 106, no. 1, 2008.

Hodges article takes the approach of gender studies in Le Morte d’Arthur, and critiques the masculine idea found within the text. He calls it “transcendent masculinity” and “competent masculinity”, both of which pertain to some form of invulnerability avoided by men, and very prevalent in medieval texts. He goes on to explain how because of these vulnerabilities are often present within Le Morte d’Arthur, the masculinity of the characters show more realistic ideas of what manhood looks like. By looking at both the necessity many characters need to heal both physically and mentally, Malory demonstrates a sense of gender that wasn’t necessarily common for his time. This article has helped me better understand some of the identities of characters and the gender differences that are presented within the text. This ultimately has helped me to better understand the stance of my argument, and the role gender can play on how one reacts to making decisions pertaining to self-image and love.

Hodges, K. Forging chivalric communities in Malory's Le Morte d’Arthur. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Another piece of Hodges work, this text takes a detailed look at how Sir Thomas Malory represents chivalry within Le Morte d’Arthur. Hodges makes a variety of claims about how Malory shifts the use of the chivalric code for both positions of power and positions of love. The chivalric code has been known to evolve throughout Le Morte d’Arthur, and Hodges carefully picks apart the research into organized “shape groups” and customs. He also looks out how both men and women pick and choose their variety of roles found within the text, each almost always influenced in some way by the chivalric code. Hodges research here has helped me to better understand the general use of the chivalric code, but more specifically Malory’s version of the chivalric code. Based on my findings within his research between chivalric communities within the text along with his research with how gender connects, Hodges’ work has been a very useful source.

ARGUMENT

Beverly Kennedy’s argument states that adultery is one of the main themes present in Le Morte d’Arthur. She even goes as far as saying adultery is “central to the story”, which although many people may immediately think of as true; I disagree with. Kennedy says that Malory essentially uses adultery “as a function of his typology of knighthood”. This means that each knight is mostly recognized or renowned by their sense of honor, and part of their honor is defined by their sexual behavior. Personally, I believe that although adultery and infidelity are prevalent in the text, they shouldn’t be seen in the negative, sinful, or dishonorable light that Kennedy takes. I’m not saying that Kennedy thinks this personally, but she does speak about how it takes away from their honor and life supposedly surrounding the chivalric code. Instead, I believe the text includes elements of true love that surpasses the code, honor, or religion. I think Le Morte d’Arthur is indeed written with all of these influences in mind, yet demonstrates realistic human tendencies and emotions that ignore the importance of their “boundaries”. In other words, the text ultimately displays the struggle between trying to be seen as good in accordance with certain “laws” and actually living the life one feels true to their emotional want/need. The importance of this argument is looking at Malory’s work from a perspective that pushes past both the religious and social context of its time and instead shows a more “human” experience. An example of love being put before honor or the chivalric code can be seen between Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram, when Palomides says “I have done to you no treason, for love is free for all men, and though I have loved your lady, she is my lady as well as yours; howbeit I have wrong if any wrong be, for ye rejoice her, and have your desire of her, and so had I never nor never am like to have, and yet shall I love her to the uttermost days of my life as well as ye” (604). The fact that Sir Palomides puts this love before the chivalric code, which is to be one of the most followed and vital points of the text, helps support my argument for love’s importance.
CHECKPOINT #1

Chosen Text: Le Morte d' Arthur

CHECKPOINT #2

Summary of Le Morte d’Arthur

Le Morte d’Arthur is the story of the rise and fall of the powerful kingdom widely known today more modernly within the story of King Arthur. Thomas Malory tells of both how the kingdom itself rose to such heights and power, an‍d also of the incidents that let to ‍it’s ‍inevitable downfall. The plot revolves around Arthur, son of the King, Uther Pendragon. According to legend, Arthur was able to remove the sword Excalibur from stone, which then in‍ return, made him take the place as King. Arthur is often in league with his close friend and advisor, Merlin the magician. Arthur grows to be a wise king, but is often at the throats of other rulers, which gives him multiple enemies. When in power, Arthur eventually pulls together the Knights of the Round Table. This is after he marries his love, Guinevere, and the table is meant to reserve a spot for all of his knights that behave in a chivalrous manner, somewhat signifying a prideful place among the “greats”. After a series of conflicts that develop throughout the quest for the Holy Grail, as well as being betrayed by his own kin, the once great kingdom starts to decline. His close friend and knight Launcelot begins an affair with Guinevere, and his once closely knit band of brothers quickly becomes undone. After some convincing, Arthur decides to chase after Launcelot for vengeance, but his own son Mordred takes the throne while he is away. Mordred then attacks Arthur's army, resulting in a fight to the death between son and father. Arthur kills Mordred, but Arthur also dies from his wounds soon after. In the end, nearly all of the great men ‍were ‍lost, and the Round Table is no more. Main characters include: Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Launcelot, Galahad, Tristram, Mordred, Lot, Morgan le Fay, Gawain, Gareth, Percival, and Lamerok.


Annotated Bibliography

Pochoda, Elizabeth T. ‍Arthurian Propaganda: Le Morte d’Arthur as an historical ideal of life‍. University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

This book is written by Elizabeth Pochoda, who is a scholar located at the University of North Carolina. It is credible due to her ‍professional ‍statu‍s, as‍ well as her obvious use of contextual evidenc‍e, an‍d source recognition through her bibliography and scholarship pages. The ‍book ‍itself dives into early scholarship of Malory’s work, and some suggestions for further studies within his writings. Not only that, but it also speaks some about political theory associated with the Arthurian legend, and the lesson of life that can be observed within the original text. This will help my research immen‍sely, bec‍ause it looks at the story on a much larger scale than simply reading into the text. Also, the suggested information on further studies will be greatly appreciated.

Radulescu, Raluca L. ‍The Gentry Context for Malory’s Morte d’Arthur‍. Brewer, 2003.

This text is written by Raluca Radules‍cu, a‍nd is credible through his exten‍sive bibliography, as well as recognition by Questia, a trusted online research domain‍. His work includes multiple breakdown of the political scene during Malory’s‍ time, and ‍also the social understanding of friendship, fellowship, and lordship. This speaks much about governance and couns‍el, and‍ how it played a vital role in the story and times of which it is portrayed. This will help me further understand the comradery of the Knights of the Round Table‍, an‍d also how the government system worked between the kingdoms mentioned‍.‍

Svogun, Margaret DuMais. ‍Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur‍. Lang, 2000.

This book was written by Margaret Dumais Svogun, a scholar who’s credible due to her ‍work and publication found within the Library of Congress.‍ Also, she has done work for the ‍Salve Regina University.‍ The book itself goes into great detail on how ‍Romance ‍takes a role within the story as a whole, but also within its beloved characters. It talks of Knights and Archetypes, Balin and Gareth, Launcelot and Tristram. Many of these characters are complex individuals, all of which play a role within the tale and hide some certain symbolism. This source will help me discover many s‍ubtle meanings ‍throughout the te‍xt, a‍nd help me app‍roach it from a more specific angle ‍when looking back at‍ it’s ‍context for further research‍.‍

Critical Analysis/Close Readings of Le Morte d’Arthur

“Whoso pulleth out this sword of this stone and anvil, is rightwise king born of all England‍.” (pg. 7)‍

This quote is simple, but I chose it because this is what most people recognize from the entirety of the King Arthur story. This small circumstance was deemed impossible, yet foretold by Merlin’s prophecy, thus making Arthur the true King. This prophecy is a familiar one, mostly due to Arthur’s traits. He is a man, born unto a King yet raised by another family, who has completed a feat of ‍strength ‍in order to somehow differentiate him from all of the other kings of England. This is similar t‍o many medieval stories‍ where an individual, already seemingly born of greatness, does some great deed or feat in order to signify he or she is somehow better than the rest. It’s interesting that the sword being removed from the stone is what stuck with so many people over the years, and I question why it’s this that stands out among the other great ‍battle ‍and quests found within the novel‍.‍

“Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer on any earthly sinful man.” (pg. 713)

This quote begins to show the more spiritual, Christian side of the story. Although this is a simple gesture said to Launcelot about his misjudgments and wrongdoings against his comrades, it includes the mention of the “Maker”. It demonstrates some idea of judgement Launcelot will get from God for his sins, ‍and it is seen th‍at pride often gets in the way of his goals throughout the text. Given that “Pride” is one of the seven deadly sins, i‍t hardly seems coincidental t‍o include this flaw within one of the story’s main characters while mentioning faith/religion. Quests involving faith usually reflect Lancelot's situation in the text, where one goes through a trial of sorts in order to repent or make up for what may be flawed within the individual‍.‍

“Alas, that ever I bare crown upon my head! For now have I lost the fairest fellowship of noble knights that ever held Christian king together. Alas, my good knights be slain away from me: now within these two days I have lost forty knights, and also the noble fellowship of Sir Launcelot and his blood, for now I may never hold them together no more with my worship. Alas that ever this war began. “ (pg. 881-882)

This excerpt is from King Arthur himself, realizing that his days of high power and success within the kingdom of Camelot ‍is‍ crumbling. He is losing his great knights, and the Table is diminishing one by one. The most important part of this qu‍ote h‍owever, is how Arthur seems to realize he has disobeyed one of the greatest traits he held dear: chivalry. Chivalry meant much to King Arthur, like it did to mo‍st knights in the medieval era, ‍but by sentencing his love Guinevere to be burned at the stake he ‍had ‍ ‍‍broke ‍‍the chivalric code‍.‍

CHECKPOINT #3

Annotated Bibliography (continued)

Barron, William Raymond Johnston. The Arthur of the english: the arthurian legend in medieval english life and literature. University of Wales Press, 2011.

This book dives into the many different adaptations of King Arthur. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that it may be a good idea to see the multiple perspectives and elements used by different locations around the world, and what aspects relate or differ. The this text alone, I was able to gain insight into not only the English version, but also the French, the German, Iberian, and Welsh “King Arthur”.While Johnson does a wonderful job identifying these similarities and differences, he also lists and targets the certain varying traditions that are associated with the story (Celtic, Romance, Dynastic, etc.) which helps get an idea of what was expected or a trend of the culture/times. Johnson makes it clearly noted that many scholars have contributed to this book, and acknowledges their success and notable research, giving him valued credibility and knowledge of the subject matter.

Owen, Douglas David Roy, and Roger Sherman Loomis. The Development of Arthurian Romance. S.n., 1965.

This text highlights the origins and developments of my chosen text, Le Morte d’Arthur. It begins with an introduction to its origin story, and then dives deeper into the actual analytical view of certain characters and romances. It also includes a brief explanation of Sir Thomas Malory’s life, work, and beginning. There are multiple characters that are spoken of within this text, but it highlights the characters that may hold a more “romantic” persona, such as Merlin, Isolt, and Tristan. It is credible due to it’s extensive bibliography acknowledging the work of other scholars and co-authors, as well as its use of evidence. This source has been big help diving deeper into certain characters in the search for a more specific research topic.

Spivack, Charlotte, and Roberta Lynne. Staples. The company of Camelot: Arthurian characters in romance and fantasy. Greenwood, 1994.

This text has been the best help to developing a research topic thus far. Knowing full well that I was going to focus around a certain character and their representation, this book is exactly what I’m looking for. Spivack and Staples co-wrote this text and offer a detailed outlook on the eight major characters represented within the Arthurian legend, and how they have been portrayed/shown from the origin of the story to today’s literature. These characters include Gawain, Arthur, Morgan le Fay, Guenevere, Mordred, Merlin, and Lancelot. The text identifies the various depictions of each, and not only displays their evolution throughout literature, but also individual traits and analytical outlooks. This source was found within one of my original sources, Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.

Reflection

Based on the research I have done so far, a large portion of scholars including the likes of Spivick, Staples, Svogun, and Pochoda have been concerned with the shift of character representation over time, and how certain characters are represented throughout Le Morte d’Arthur in general. Common discussions focus on the psychological aspect of certain characters such as King Arthur himself, and his incestous son and enemy, Mordred. With psychological elements at play, a different observation could be had for the entirety of the story and it’s plot by attempting to look at the reasoning behind certain actions taken with a new perspective. Another approach I’ve seen taken in Spivack and Staples work is taking on how certain representation of gender roles found within the text reflect on the character himself/herself as well as associated characters with their interactions. As I read more into this, the more it has intrigued me due to the understanding of the chivalrous code so faithfully followed my medieval knights during the time period. With chivalry playing such a vital role in both real life and the text of Le Morte d’Arthur, it’s interesting to see how characters like Queen Guenevere are treated and represented, and ultimately women as a whole. Going forth, I think I’ll be focusing more on the gender analysis aspect of research, and how certain women characters are depicted along with how their interactions play out with other male characters in a way that evidently influences the story.

Query

Being a long story, Le Morte d’Arthur offered plenty of opportunities for questions. Although King Arthur himself is one of the best known legendary characters, I often wondered “what made him such a great King?” Sure his prophecy was fulfilled, and the sword out of stone was an impressive feat of strength, but he has made plenty of bad judgement calls and regrettable decisions. This is realistic in the sense of an actual reigning King, as they are only human. However, in a legend of such renown and importance, along with fate at hand, it was strange for me to see such faults in Arthur at times. Another question that came up while I was reading was on the representation of marriage and love within the text, which eventually became my research focus. Love is a heavy theme found within Le Morte d’Arthur, and is portrayed in a few contradicting ways. Although it is clear that Arthur and Guenevere had once loved each other faithfully, Launcelot and Guenevere take on the more dangerous and unorthodox role of passionately true love. In other words, Guinevere and Arthur are your stereotypical “supposed to be” lovers, while Guenevere and Launcelot are the “meant for each other” lovers. This was interesting considering the Christian influence on the story. It was after I had read more into the approach of looking at gender roles within the text that I had begun to think more deeply about the love aspect, and is likely to be where I continue to research more information.
CHECKPOINT #4

ABSTRACT

As familiar and beloved the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is, there are many complexities and inquiries to be made surrounding it’s most prevalent themes. For example, Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur includes a variety of interesting circumstances surrounding the idea of the chivalric code and the idea of love in its purest form. What does that mean? Is it, as many scholars insist, truly just another example of a text infatuated with adulterous tendencies within a Christian influenced frame? Or is it something deeper than this, ingrained in the identities of the characters and how they represent themselves both publicly and privately to their peers and lovers? Perhaps the sort of passionate true love that breaks the bounds of marriage isn’t just sinful adultery, but the sort of love that is true to the feelings of the individuals themselves on a level that's deeper than the bind they felt compelled to obey through religious laws. In modern times, marriage is looked at as more of a choice, and getting to the point of that relationship is a decision that requires plenty of thought and personal feelings of emotional attachment. In the times of King Arthur and Guinevere however, this was not the case. Marriage was more of an expected route that all women or men should participate in, regardless of personal attachment or feelings. It was a milestone to be made and if an individual was not to participate in, was looked down upon. Through close reading and evidential support found within Malory’s text, I intend to argue that the certain characters who have been tried for adulterous accounts were simply individuals who were acting out upon their personal feelings rather than the expected social norms. This is significant because although the many character strongly follows the chivalric code within the text, many seem to disobey the code or dishonor it’s laws in some way, much like the religious laws that the codes are rooted in. Due to the chivalric code having an influence on how one is perceived mostly publicly, it obscures from a character's private life and intentions. By arguing against the adulterous outlook often seen in the text, I can shed light upon the characters in a way that looks past their religiously sinful actions and introduce them in a more familiar and positive aspect that relates more to humanity rather than Christianity.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kennedy, Beverly. “Adultery in Malory's ‘Le Morte d'Arthur.’” Arthuriana, vol. 7, no. 4, 1997, pp. 63–91. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27869288.

This article is what started the fire in my found argument. Kennedy does a fantastic job meticulously pointing out the adulteration found within Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur text and connects it to the author's own idea of knighthood. By diving into the traits that constitute “knightly honor” such as a true, worshipful, heroic individual, Kennedy finds that the attitude towards the characters and their sins of adultery are ultimately enhanced in some way. She claims that “adultery is central to the story of King Arthur” and that this behavior was purposely put forward in order to introduce “emerging typology”. I was able to learn much about the argument made for this outlook, which in return helped me shape my argument against it. Kennedy puts her thoughts into a well organized and and thoughtful analysis of the behavior and actions of the knights and their associated adultery, which has developed my perspective greatly and with more logical thinking, considering I am able to see the entirety of the research and consider multiple sides of the argument as I come to my own conclusions.

Hodges, Kenneth. “Wounded Masculinity: Injury and Gender in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.” Studies in Philology, vol. 106, no. 1, 2008.

Hodges article takes the approach of gender studies in Le Morte d’Arthur, and critiques the masculine idea found within the text. He calls it “transcendent masculinity” and “competent masculinity”, both of which pertain to some form of invulnerability avoided by men, and very prevalent in medieval texts. He goes on to explain how because of these vulnerabilities are often present within Le Morte d’Arthur, the masculinity of the characters show more realistic ideas of what manhood looks like. By looking at both the necessity many characters need to heal both physically and mentally, Malory demonstrates a sense of gender that wasn’t necessarily common for his time. This article has helped me better understand some of the identities of characters and the gender differences that are presented within the text. This ultimately has helped me to better understand the stance of my argument, and the role gender can play on how one reacts to making decisions pertaining to self-image and love.

Hodges, K. Forging chivalric communities in Malory's Le Morte d’Arthur. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Another piece of Hodges work, this text takes a detailed look at how Sir Thomas Malory represents chivalry within Le Morte d’Arthur. Hodges makes a variety of claims about how Malory shifts the use of the chivalric code for both positions of power and positions of love. The chivalric code has been known to evolve throughout Le Morte d’Arthur, and Hodges carefully picks apart the research into organized “shape groups” and customs. He also looks out how both men and women pick and choose their variety of roles found within the text, each almost always influenced in some way by the chivalric code. Hodges research here has helped me to better understand the general use of the chivalric code, but more specifically Malory’s version of the chivalric code. Based on my findings within his research between chivalric communities within the text along with his research with how gender connects, Hodges’ work has been a very useful source.

ARGUMENT

Beverly Kennedy’s argument states that adultery is one of the main themes present in Le Morte d’Arthur. She even goes as far as saying adultery is “central to the story”, which although many people may immediately think of as true; I disagree with. Kennedy says that Malory essentially uses adultery “as a function of his typology of knighthood”. This means that each knight is mostly recognized or renowned by their sense of honor, and part of their honor is defined by their sexual behavior. Personally, I believe that although adultery and infidelity are prevalent in the text, they shouldn’t be seen in the negative, sinful, or dishonorable light that Kennedy takes. I’m not saying that Kennedy thinks this personally, but she does speak about how it takes away from their honor and life supposedly surrounding the chivalric code. Instead, I believe the text includes elements of true love that surpasses the code, honor, or religion. I think Le Morte d’Arthur is indeed written with all of these influences in mind, yet demonstrates realistic human tendencies and emotions that ignore the importance of their “boundaries”. In other words, the text ultimately displays the struggle between trying to be seen as good in accordance with certain “laws” and actually living the life one feels true to their emotional want/need. The importance of this argument is looking at Malory’s work from a perspective that pushes past both the religious and social context of its time and instead shows a more “human” experience. An example of love being put before honor or the chivalric code can be seen between Sir Palomides and Sir Tristram, when Palomides says “I have done to you no treason, for love is free for all men, and though I have loved your lady, she is my lady as well as yours; howbeit I have wrong if any wrong be, for ye rejoice her, and have your desire of her, and so had I never nor never am like to have, and yet shall I love her to the uttermost days of my life as well as ye” (604). The fact that Sir Palomides puts this love before the chivalric code, which is to be one of the most followed and vital points of the text, helps support my argument for love’s importance.