Journal – King Arthur • If you can: • Brainstorm what you know about the legend of King Arthur. Write down as much as you can. • Everyone: • Why is it important to read about these legends? Both from an individual standpoint and a societal standpoint. HALF-PAGE ENTRY
King Arthur in History • King Arthur was a legendary leader of the Britons (the Celtic people in Britain before Anglo-Saxon settlement drove them out) • Lived during the late 5th and early 6th century • Defended the Britons from Saxon invasions
The Importance of the Legend • One of the most famous and written about legends of all time • The legends written about King Arthur don’t tell us much about history (they are mostly fictional), but they do tell us much about chivalry, valor, bravery, loyalty, devotion, and the human condition • There is no canonical(meaning official) version of the legend of King Arthur and there are many different variations, but these notes contain the popular versions
UtherPendragon • Father of King Arthur • Fell in love with a Duke’s wife, Igraine • He went to war over her, but could not breach the Duke’s castle walls • He has the wizard Merlin disguise him as the Duke and thus tricks Igraine into sleeping with him • This is how Arthur is conceived
King Arthur Pendragon • Becomes king after pulling out the Sword in the Stone which no one else could do • Married to Lady Guinevere • Started the Knights of the Round Table, at his castle called Camelot, where all knights were treated equally • Has a son, Mordred, with his half-sister who seduced him using magic • Mordred later fatally wounds Arthur as Arthur kills Mordred • After being fatally wounded he is brought to the island of Avalon, where he will not die from his wounds but never returns
Lady Guinevere • King Arthur’s wife • Has an affair with King Arthur’s favorite Knight of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot • This betrayal begins the downfall of Arthur’s kingdom
The Holy Grail • After Guinevere and Lancelot’s betrayal, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are demoralized and disillusioned. • The Knights then seek the Holy Grail in hopes of restoring Arthur and the kingdom • The Grail legend might be influenced by the Celtic belief in a magic cauldron with restorative powers • The primary source for the legend is the Christian belief that the Grail is the chalice that Jesus drank wine out of during the Last Supper before the Crucifixion
Excalibur • Perhaps the most famous weapon of all time. • May or may not have been the Sword in the Stone, depending on the legend • If not the Sword in the Stone, it is thought to have been given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake • The sword is often thought to have magical powers, such as invulnerability for the bearer • When Arthur is mortally wounded, Excalibur is thrown back into the lake by a knight and a hand catches it and drags it into the depths
Other Characters • Merlin – A wizard, uses magic that allows Uther to seduce Igraine and father Arthur. Also, Arthur’s mentor as a child and advisor as an adult. • Sir Lancelot – A knight from France who becomes Arthur’s favorite. He later betrays Arthur and has an affair with Guinevere. • Mordred – Arthur’s inbred son who betrays and fatally wounds his father before being killed.
Other Characters • The Lady of the Lake – The ruler of Avalon. In some legends, gives Arthur the sword Excalibur. • Morgan Le Fey – Daughter of Igraine. Arthur’s half-sister known for her exploration of magic. Appears in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In some legends, combined with Arthur’s other half-sister Morgause, the mother of Mordred. • Sir Gawain – Son of Morgan Le Fey and Arthur’s nephew. One of the best Knights of the Round Table.
Books about Arthur • THERE ARE OVER ONE HUNDRED BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT KING ARTHUR!!! • Some famous movies: • Camelot • Monty Python and the Holy Grail • The Sword in the Stone • First Knight • King Arthur • Some famous books: • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight • MorteD’Arthur • Idylls of the King • The Once and Future King