Arthurian Legend Essay

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Arthurian Legend

Even though the Arthur legend is hundreds of years old, our culture today is still fascinated with the idea of the Round Table and the love triangle between Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere. There are movies and books galore to read about the different takes on the legend of Arthur. However, it makes one wonder if our culture really understands the Arthurian legend. Especially in the movies the central idea of a literary work can be lost. Compared to Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur have movies lost sight of what the Arthurian legend tries to teach?

Le Morte d’Arthur has several different themes working within in for Hollywood to choose from. An easy one for moviemakers is the glorification of the hero. In Malory’s work
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Unfortunately, the Round Table is destroyed by the above mentioned betrayal.

Another theme that is also borrowed from Beowulf is the idea of the sword representing destruction. The sword in the stone is what starts a great deal of the trouble. The sword is what continues to start such trouble. Merlin warns Arthur that the sword is better off in its sheath but Arthur does not listen. Instead, the sword is used to try to solve problems and ends up creating many more.

The last major theme was a common one during the time Malory was writing: courtly love. This theme is definitely something our culture has dwelled on. The idea of two lovers who cannot be together because of marriage is all too interesting for the culture that is also obsessed with soap operas. One could say that many more movies that do not even mention Arthur could be based on the Arthurian legend if they imitate courtly love. Any movie with a love triangle could be game. However, the key element of courtly love is that there must be a third party. If the love is not forbidden it just is not worth the trouble.

The first movie examined for the comparison was Disney’s The Sword in the Stone. Without even watching it, one knows there are striking differences. One main reason for several differences if that the movie is a cartoon and is geared towards children. A children’s movie is not going to try to
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