The fall of Camelot: A Consequence of its Imperfect King

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In Western culture, mere mention of the name “Camelot” is often enough to inspire images of courtly romance, grandeur, and valiant knights. In fact, the kingdom is nearly as legendary as the hero who ruled it, Arthur Pendragon. Regardless of whether he exists as a historical or mythical figure, Arthur continues to appear as a symbol of heroism in Western tradition through his roles as king and warrior. When modern culture searches for the qualities of a great fighter, it finds them in Arthur’s strength and his bravery. When it looks for the makings of a true leader, it need not look further than Arthur’s accomplishments: his founding of the Round Table Knights, his victory over the Saxons, and finally his unification of Britain. In…show more content…
We will put him no more in delay, for we will see that it is God’s will that he shall be our king, and who that holdeth against it, we will slay him!” (Malory 12). Indeed, Malory’s tale does confirm the existence of one group, the barons, who question Arthur’s legitimacy to the throne: “Wherefore, there were many lords wroth, and said it was great shame unto them all and the realm to be overgoverned with a boy of no high blood born” (Malory 11). In his article, Lexton interprets this act of aggression from the “comyns” as detrimental because it “alters Arthur’s accession from the title of the hereditary heir confirmed by God’s will to the claim of an unknown boy, reliant on the assertion of a group with uncertain legitimacy who are prepared to bully the barons into getting their own way” (185). What appears to be most concerning about placing Arthur’s legitimacy in the hands of the people is that it lays a foundation for his rule based on intimidation, which “gives rise to a polity that suffers from violent war and vicious feuding” (Lexton 170). Unfortunately, this prediction proves accurate because though the people are the first to support Arthur’s rule, they are the last to betray him when Sir Mordred takes control of Camelot: “For then was the common voice among them that with King Arthur was never other life but war and strife, and with Sir Mordred was great joy and bliss. Thus was King Arthur

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