The Effects of Sir Thomas Malory’s Life and Culture on the Arthurian Legends

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The Effects of Sir Thomas Malory’s Life and Culture on the Arthurian Legends

In many cases, authors write books in order to comment on the culture they live in. In addition, the personal life experiences of the author are also expressed in the work. In the case of the Arthurian Legends, the major contributor was Sir Thomas Malory, who lived from 1405 to 1471 (Abrams, 420). The first section of this paper will examine why Sir Thomas Malory should be considered the greatest contributor to the Arthurian Legends. The second section of this paper will examine many themes expressed in Malory’s work, Morte Darthur, such as courtly love, brotherly love, chivalry, magic, and resolution, showing how the culture and personal life of Sir
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In order to study the work of Sir Thomas Malory in depth, it is essential to comment on the major themes of his work and draw comparisons from his life and the culture in which he lived in order to examine why he worked to produce the first complete English version of the Arthurian legends.

One of the major themes of Morte Darthur was courtly love. The major influence in the subject, from what is known about Sir Thomas Malory’s personal life, was the fact that he was a knight in Warwickshire, England (Abrams, 420). This is important to the subject of courtly love because most of the stories written in the genre dealt with the nobility or people in the upper classes of society. This connection to his personal life would obviously attract him to the theme for his work because he could draw from his knowledge of the noble classes.

In addition to the similarities found between courtly love and Sir Thomas Malory’s personal life, the element of courtly love was a popular theme during the middle ages. At the time of his life (15th C.) it would be hard to imagine that a person of noble class would not be familiar with the element of courtly love in the literature of the time. Indeed, the very strong element of courtly love in Morte Darthur, particularly in the relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere, would be considered a major coincidence without prior
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