The Once and Future King - Arthur's Failure Essay

1104 Words Sep 22nd, 1999 5 Pages
"He was only a man who had meant well, who had been spurred along the course of thinking by an eccentric necromancer with a weakness for humanity. Justice had been his last attempt-to do nothing which was not just. But it had ended in failure" (White, OAFK 634). The "he" in this passage refers to King Arthur, the main character in T.H. White's The Once and Future King and Book of Merlyn, who failed in his attempt to unite England due to the mistakes made by him and those close to him. Arthur, betrayed by those close to him, not properly educated on the greedy, selfish, and violent heart of man, failed in his attempt to create a stable, progressive, and peaceful society.<br><br>To begin with, those close to Arthur made mistakes that would …show more content…
He had been taught by Merlyn to believe that man was perfectible: that he was on the whole more decent that beastly; that good was worth trying: that there was no such thing as original sin. He had been forged as a weapon for the aid of man, on the assumption that men were good.....the whole structure depended on the first premise; that man was decent" (White OAFK 628). Because Arthur possessed such a wise and loving tutor who showed him the good and decent side of human nature, he himself grew up "...kind, simple, and upright" (White OAFK 387) Merlyn taught him through the use of animals that were much more peaceful and serene than humans could ever hope to be. Because Arthur possessed such a kind and moral heart, he could not find it in his heart to hate his best friend, his wife, or anyone for betraying him, and his forgiving nature and naivete eventually led to his downfall. If Merlyn had only showed him that all men possessed a streak of evil in them, Arthur would not have been so quick to assume that all men were good "...for if there was such a thing as original sin, if man was on the whole a villain, if the bible was right in saying that the hearts of men were deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, then the purpose of his life had been a vain one" (White OAFK 629).<br><br>In the end, Arthur lost his battle with might and failed to create a stable, peaceful, and progressive society. This was
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