First published in 1485, during England's War of the Roses, "Le Morte d'Arthur" or "The Death of Arthur" combines all of the known legends of King Arthur into one creative text. Beginning with the birth of Arthur and telling the tale of his rise to become the head of the Knights of the Round Table and the husband of Guinevere, we also learn of Lancelot, Arthur's most venerated knight. Many of the other knights' stories are told with varying degrees of respect for the code of chivalry they are to abide by, including the quest for the Holy Grail. The decline of the Round Table is brought about by opposing forces within, of which the adulterous affair of Guinevere and Lancelot plays a destructive role. Treachery reveals this forbidden passion to Arthur, and his revenge leads to his death. This comprehensive telling of Arthurian legend reflects both medieval chivalry and the fractious social unrest characteristic of Malory's time, of which he was literally a prisoner, in a work that is both monumental and enduring.
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January 01, 2013
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