King Arthur Essay

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King Arthur Character Analysis

Although King Arthur is one of the most well-known figures in the world, his true identity remains a mystery. Attempts to identify the historical Arthur have been unsuccessful, since he is largely a product of fiction. Most historians, though, agree that the real Arthur was probably a battle leader of the Britons against the Anglo-Saxons in the sixthth century. In literature, King Arthur's character is unique and ever changing, taking on a different face in every work. There is never a clearly definitive picture that identifies Arthur's character. It is therefore necessary to look at a few different sources to get better insight into the character of Arthur, the once and future king.
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This work contains all of the most famous Arthurian elements such as the Sword in the Stone, the magical Merlin, and the love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. But it was Wace, who using Geoffrey's work was first to mention Arthur's Round Table and amplify the belief in Arthur's return from Avilon, or the Isle of Avalon.


King Arthur's character has many faces. He is shown to be kind, wise and generous on one hand, yet at the same time, he can be seen as a weak king who is stubborn, childish, and unable to make wise decisions for himself or for the good of the court. He is described by Nennius as a powerful warrior, who is able to personally slay 960 men in one charge. Wace shows him possessing leadership qualities as he establishes the Round Table to ensure that justice and peace prevail. In Celtic legends, Arthur is a supernatural hero who battles giants, monsters, and witches. He kills the Demon Cat of Losanne and hunts the boar Twrch Truyth driving him into the sea. (Camelot and Arthurian Legend: Arthur online 4/27/98)


Some literary work depicts Arthur as an ideal Christian hero and as among God's elect. Young Arthur is able to withdraw the sword from the stone because he has been chosen by God to be the next king. Officers in the Roman army carried shields bearing portraits of their emperors. Geoffrey describes Arthur having a shield with the likeness of
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