An outline of the hero's life is given by Geoffrey of Monmouth (twelfth century) in his Historia Regum Brittaniae - History of the Kings of Britain. Just how much of this life was Geoffrey's invention and how much was culled from traditional material is uncertain. He tells us that King Arthur was the son of Uther and defeated the barbarians in a dozen battles. Subsequently, he conquered a wide empire and eventually went to war with the Romans. He returned home on learning that his nephew Mordred had raised the standard of rebellion and taken Guinevere, the queen. After landing, his final battle took place. The saga built up over the centuries and Celtic traditions of Arthur reached the Continent via Brittany. Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur would become what many considered the standard 'history' of Arthur. In this, we are told of Arthur's conception when Uther approached Igraine who was made, by Merlin's sorcery, to resemble her husband. The child was given to Ector to be raised in secret. After Uther's death there was no king ruling all England. Merlin had placed a sword in a stone, saying that whoever drew it out would be king. Arthur did so and Merlin had him crowned. This led to a rebellion be eleven rulers which Arthur put down. He married Guinevere whose father gave him the Round Table as a dowry; it became the place where his knights sat, to avoid quarrels over precedence. A magnificent reign followed, Arthur's court becoming the focus for many heroes. In the war against the Romans, Arthur defeated the Emperor Lucius and became emperor himself. However, his most illustrious knight, Lancelot, became enamoured of Guinevere. The Quest for the Holy Grial began and Lancelot's intrigue with the Queen came to light. Lancelot fled and Guinevere was sentenced to death. Lancelot rescued her and took her to him realm. This led Arthur to crossing the channel and making war on his former knight. While away from Britain, he left Mordred in charge. Mordred rebelled and Arthur returned to quell him. This led to Arthur's last battle on Salisbury Plain, where he slew Mordred, but was himself gravely wounded. Arthur was then carried off in a barge, saying he was heading for the vale of Avalon. Some said he never died, but would one day return. However, his grave was supposedly discovered at Glastonbury in the reign of Henry II (1154-89).
King Arthur is most known for his Kingly leadership, his loving rule, and even his ruthless judgment of Lancelot and Guinevere but often a very important part of Arthur's life is forgotten: his skills as a general and knight. The name Arthur may be a form of Artorius, a Roman gens name, but according to J. D. Bruce, it is possibly of Celtic origin, coming from artos viros (bear man). Bruce also suggest the possibility of a connection with Irish art (stone). King Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon and defeated the barbarians in a dozen battles. Subsequently, he conquered a wide empire and eventually went to war with the Romans. He returned home on learning that his nephew Mordred had raised the standard of rebellion and taken Guinevere, the Queen. After landing, his final battle took place. Tradition has it that after King Uther's death there was no king ruling all of England. Merlin had placed a sword in a stone, saying that whoever drew it out would be king. Arthur did not know his true status but had grown up living with Sir Ector and Sir Kay, his son. The young Arthur pulled the sword from the stone and Merlin had him crowned the King of Britain. This led
to a rebellion by eleven rulers which Arthur put down. He married Guinevere, whose father gave him the round table as a dowry. In the war against the Romans, Arthur defeated Emperor Lucius and became emperor himself. The last battle of Arthur took place between He and the forces of his evil nephew, Mordred. Arthur delivered the fatal blow to Mordred in the battle, but in the process Arthur was struck a mortal blow, himself. It was then that he commanded Sir Bedivere to throw Excalibur back into the Lake. The date of Arthur's death is given by Geoffrey of Monmouth as AD 542. Malory places his life in the fifth century. Geoffrey Ashe puts forward the argument that Arthur is at least to some extent to be identified with the historical Celtic king Riothamus. Was Arthur fictitious or did he really live? Was he really a composite of a number of persons living at different times in British history? That is for all of us to decide for ourselves.
KNIGHTS OF KING ARTHUR SIR LANCELOT DU LAC (LAUNCELOT)
Lancelot was the son of King Ban of Benwick and Queen Elaine. He was the First Knight of the Round Table, and he never failed in gentleness, courtesy, or courage. Launcelot was also a knight who was very willing to serve others. It has been said that Lancelot was the greatest fighter and swordsman of all the knights of the Round Table. Legend tells us that as a child, Lancelot was left by the shore of the lake, where he was found by Vivien, the Lady of the Lake. She fostered and raised him, and in time Lancelot became one of history's greatest knights. Legend also says that Lancelot was the father of Galahad by Elaine. It was another Elaine, Elaine of Astolat, who died of a broken heart because Launcelot did not return her love and affection. Many sources tell us of the love shared toward each other of Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. There may be some truth to this since Lancelot was a favorite of the Queen's, and he rescued her from the stake on two different occasions. It was at one of these rescues that Lancelot mistakenly killed Sir Gareth, which led to the disbandment of the Round Table. After the Queen repented to an abbey as a nun, Lancelot lived the rest of his life as a hermit in penitence.
Gawain is generally said to be the nephew of Arthur. His parents were Lot of Orkney and Morgause (though his mother is said to be Anna in Geoffrey of Monmouth). Upon the death of Lot, he became the head of the Orkney clan, which includes in many sources his brothers Agravain, Gaheris, and Gareth, and his half-brother Mordred. Gawain figures prominently in many romances. In France he is generally presented as one who has adventures paralleling in diptych fashion but not overshadowing the hero's, whether that hero be Lancelot or Percivale. In the English tradition, however, it is much more common for Gawain to be the principal hero and the exemplar of courtesy and chivalry, as he is in Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight and the other Arthurian romances of the Alliterative Revival. In Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, however, he has a role similar to that in the French romances, in that Lancelot is the principal hero. The accidental death of Gawain's brothers at Sir Lancelot's hands caused Gawain, one of the mightiest warriors at court, to become the bitter enemy of his once greatest friend. He was mortally wounded in a fight with Lancelot who, it is said, lay for two nights weeping at Gawain's tomb. Before his death, Gawain repented of his bitterness towards Lancelot and forgave him.
The eldest son of King Erbin of Dumnonia who was a Knight of Devon. After the death of his his wife, Prince Geraint spent much time at King Arthur's Court, looking for action and adventure. It was during this period that he encountered the Sparrow Hawk Knight and came to marry Lady Enid of Caer-Teim (Cardiff), a story told in the ancient tales of "Erec (alias Geraint) & Enid" and "Geraint mab Erbin". Sir Geraint restored Sir Yniol all of his possessions and then married his beautiful daughter, Lady Enid. Later Geraint heard Enid bewailing his sloth as a knight; he was stung with shame and mistakenly believed Enid to be unfaithful to him. He took her on a journey through a series of trials until she convinced him of her constancy. They returned and lived in happiness for the remainder of their lives. He inherited the Dumnonian throne in c.497 (or 480) and is recorded as one of the great "Fleet Owners" of post-Roman Britain His castle was once called Caer-Gurrel or Fort of the Ship. He died fighting the Saxons with King Arthur at the Battle of Llongborth (Langport, Somerset) around 480/510. This recorded in a long Welsh poem called the "Elegy for Geraint".
Gareth was the youngest brother of Sir Gawain and the son of Lot and Morgause of Orkney. He played a significant role in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. Malory's "Tale of Sir Gareth" was apparently created by Malory. It presents Gareth as an exemplar of chivalry who is knighted by and devoted to Sir Lancelot and who acts chivalrously towards Lynette despite her abuse of him. This picture of Gareth, who avoided even his own brothers when they acted less than chivalrously, is one of the elements that comes together in the final scenes of the Morte to produce the tragic ending. Lancelot blindly slayed Gareth in his rescue of Guinevere from the stake. When Gawain heared of this, he turned against Lancelot and demanded that Arthur pursue him to punish him, thus setting the stage for Mordred's takeover. In Tennyson's Idyll of Gareth and Lynette, although Gareth, like almost everyone in Camelot, is not what he seems, he proves himself better than he seems to the sharp-tongued Lynette and the misjudging Sir Kay: he defeated a series of knightly opponents and rescued Lyonors. Gareth also figures in modern works like T. H. White's The Once and Future King and E. M. R. Ditmas's Gareth of Orkney (1956).
Sir Gaheris was the son of King Lot of Orkney and his wife Morgause, sister of King Arthur, before being knighted he was squire to his elder brother Gawaine. Sir Gaheris married Lynette on the day his brother Gareth married hersister, Dame Lionesse, of the Castle Perilous. The two brothers were slain in the struggle following the rescue of Queen Guinevere from the fire, though this was by accident as Sir Lancelot did not recognise them in the crowd. Sir Gawaine for a long time held Sir Lancelot in bitter hatred. Gaheris, like his other brothers, first visited Arthur's court when Morgawse arrived following the Battle of Bedegraine. When Gawaine returned to be made a knight at Arthur's wedding to Guinevere, Gaheris was by his side to act as his page. In a way, he acted as Gawaine's conscience, cooling his hot temper when Gawaine wished to challenge Pellinore, praising him for his skills in his combat with Allardin of the Isles, and admonishing him after his failure to show mercy causes the death of the lady of Ablamar of the Marsh. But throughout Gawaine's early adventures, Gaheris was his steadfast companion. There were two Gaherises that were Knights of the Round Table. This one was the brother of Gawain, Gareth, and Agravain.
Sir Bedivere was a trusty supporter of King Arthur from the beginning of his reign, and one of the first knights to join the fellowship of the Round Table. He helped Arthur fight the Giant of Mont St. Michel, and later he was made Duke of Neustria. Bedivere had only one hand later in life, having lost one of his hands in a battle. He had a son called Amren and a daughter named Eneuavc. Bedivere was present at the Last Battle, the fateful Battle of Camlan. He and Arthur alone survived the battle, and he was given the command by Arthur to throw Excalibur back into the Lake. After lying twice to Arthur, he finally tossed the precious sword out into the lake, and the hand of the Lady of the Lake came up and retrieved the sword to its watery home. The name Bedivere comes from the Welsh Bedwyr. His grandfather was also named Bedivere, and he founded the city of Bayeux. Bedivere was killed in the Roman Campaign.
Galahad was the natural son of Launcelot. His name may be of Welsh origin or come from the place name Gilead in Palestine. His mother was Elaine, and he was placed in a nunnery as a child, being that the abbess there was his great aunt. One day a sword in a stone was seen in a river by Arthur's knights, and it was said that only the world's best knight could pull out the sword. Galahad was led into Arthur's court where he sat in the Siege Perilous and then drew the sword out. It was later on when the Grail appeared in a vision at Arthur's court that Galahad was one of the three knights chosen to undertake the Quest
for the Holy Grail. He was given a white shield, made by Evelake, with a red cross which Joseph of Arimathea had drawn in blood. In the course of the Quest he joined up with Percivale, Bors, and Percivale's sister. On board Solomon's ship, Galahad obtained the Sword of David, and after the death of Percivale's sister the trio split up for a while and Galahad traveled with his father, Launcelot. When the three rejoined forces they came to Carbonek and achieved the Grail. Galahad mended the broken sword, and therefore, He was allowed to see the Grail. After beholding the Holy Grail, Galahad requested of Joseph of Arimathea that he die, which request was granted unto him. Galahad was always known as the "Perfect Knight". He was "perfect" in courage, gentleness, courtesy, and chivalry.
Sir Kay was the son of Ector (Ectorious) and the foster brother of King Arthur. History records Kay (Cai in Welsh) as being a very tall man, as shown by his epithet, the Tall. He appears in the Mabinogion tale of "Culhwch and Olwen" as the foremost warrior at the Court of the King Arthur, and apparently had mystical powers and was called one of the "Three Enchanter Knights of Britain" for: "nine nights and nine days his breath lasted under water, nine nights and nine days would he be without sleep. A wound from Cai's sword no physician might heal. When it pleased him, he would be as tall as the tallest tree in the forest. When the rain was heaviest, whatever he held in his hand would be dry for a handbreadth before and behind, because of the greatness of his heat, and, when his companions were coldest, he would be as fuel for them to light a fire". Sir Kay at times had a volatile and cruel nature, but he was Arthur's senechal and one of his most faithful companions. Kay married Andrivete, daughter of King Cador of Northumberland, and he is credited with sons called Garanwyn and Gronosis and a daughter called Kelemon. Some sources say that Kay was a Saxon, but was unlike the heathen Saxons because he was a Christian. There are different accounts of his death: throughout Welsh literature it is claimed that he was killed by Gwyddawg who was, in turn, killed by Arthur; but he is also said to have been killed by the Romans or in the war against Mordred.
SIR BORS DE GANIS
Sir Bors was the only knight to survive the Quest for the Holy Grail and return to court. His fathers name was Bors, and he later succeeded his father as King of Gannes. Bors was a chaste knight, but the daughter of King Brandegoris fell in love with him, and with the aid of a magic ring forced Bors into loving her. As a result of this union, Bors became the father of Elyan the White, later Emperor of Constantinople. Bors undertook the Quest for the Holy Grail along with Galahad and Percivale. Bors was the only one of the three to return to Britain, and after the Quest, he returned to Arthur's Court.
Bors was the cousin of Sir Lancelot, and he steadfastly supported him against Arthur during the conflict between the two. After the death of Lancelot, Bors returned to the Holy Land where he died fighting in the Crusades. It has been suggested that, in origin, Bors may have been a character who figures in Welsh legend as Gwri.
Lamorak was the son of King Pellinore and in some legends the brother of Percivale. He was one of the strongest Knights of the Round Table. Lamorak was the lover of Morgause, whose husband King Lot of Orkney had been killed by Lamorak's father, Pellinore. Lamorak was one of three knights most noted for their deeds of prowess. At an early age he received a degree for jousting, at which he excelled. There were several different occasions in which Lamorak fought over thirty knights by himself. Some sources say Lamorak was killed by Mordred who crept in behind him and stabbed him in the back, but most stories refer to Lamorak as being killed by Gawaine in retaliation for Lamorak's relationship to Morgause, Gawaine's mother.
SIR TRISTAN (TRISTRAM)
Tristan, or Tristram in Old English, was a contemporary of King Arthur and a Knight of the Round Table. He was the nephew and champion of King Mark of Cornwall and the son of Meliodas, King of Lyoness. Tristan's mother died when he was born, and as a young man he took service with his uncle, Mark. Tristan became the champion of his uncle after defeating and killing Marhaus of Ireland in a duel. That defeat led to a truce with King Anguish of Ireland and he arranged for his daughter, Iseult to be married to King Mark. It was Tristan who was sent to Ireland to fetch the would be Queen. While in the process of bringing her back to Cornwall, Tristan and Iseult fell helplessly in love with one another. Therefore, they fled from Mark and lived the rest of their days on the run. Legend has it that while Tristan was playing his harp for Iseult, Mark snuck in behind him and killed him with a dagger or a lance in the back. The Fowey Stone in Cornwall is thought to bear an inscription about a Tristan, son of Cunomorus, to whom the tale may have been transferred. According to the Italian version of the story, Tristan and Iseult had two children, bearing their names, while the French view gives them one son, Ysaie, and a grandson, Marc. The name Tristan may be Pictish in origin. It is interesting to note that the Pictish King Talorc III was succeeded by Drust V; were these Protagonists of the original Tristan story? No one may ever know.
Percivale was raised by his mother in ignorance of arms and courtesy. Percivale's natural prowess, however, led him to Arthur's court where he immediately set off in pursuit of a knight who had offended Guinevere. Percivale is the Grail knight or one of the Grail knights in numerous medieval and modern stories of the Grail quest. Percivale first appears in Chrétien de Troyes's unfinished Percivale or Conte del Graal (c.1190). The incomplete story prompted a series of "continuations," in the third of which (c. 1230), by an author named Manessier, Percivale achieves the Grail. (An analogue to Chrétien's tale is found in the thirteenth-century Welsh romance Peredur.) Chrétien's story was also the inspiration for one of the greatest romances of the Middle Ages, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival (c. 1200-1210). As in Chrétien's story, Wolfram's Parzival is initially naive and foolish, having been sheltered from the dangers of the chivalric world by his mother. In both versions Percivale/Parzival is the guest of the wounded Fisher King (called Anfortas by Wolfram but unnamed by Chrétien) at whose castle he witnesses the Grail procession and fails to ask--because he has been advised of the impoliteness of asking too many questions--the significance of what he sees and, in Wolfram's romance, what causes Anfortas's pain. This failure is calamitous because asking the question would have cured the king. Other medieval versions of the story of Percivale can be found in the French texts known as the Didot-Percivale and Perlesvaus (also called The High Book of the Grail or Le Haut Livre du Graal). Percivale is the central character in the fourteenth-century Middle English romance Sir Percivale of Galles which is apparently based on Chrétien's tale but which omits the Grail motif entirely. Percivale is one of three Grail knights in Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, the others being Galahad and Bors. Percivale functions as the narrator of the dramatic monologue which comprises most of Tennyson's Idyll "The Holy Grail." In this idyll, much of what Percivale tells focuses on Galahad as the central Grail knight. Richard Wagner, drawing his inspiration primarily from Wolfram von Eschenbach though greatly simplifying Wolfram's plot, wrote the opera Parsifal in 1882. As in the medieval stories, Parsifal is presented initially as a fool, but is pure enough to heal the wounded Anfortas and to become himself the keeper of the Grail. Among the twentieth century works to deal with Percivale/Parsifal are the poem "Parsifal" by Arthur Symons, several of Charles Williams's Arthurian poems, Robert Trevelyan's The Birth of Parsival (1905) and The New Parsifal: An Operatic Fable (1914), and the novels Percival and the Presence of God (1978) by Jim Hunter, Parsifal (1988) by Peter Vansittart, and Richard Monaco's tetralogy (containing Parsival , The Grail War , The Final Quest , and Blood and Dreams ). One of the most interesting Arthurian films is Eric Rohmer's Percivale le Gallois (1978), a fairly faithful rendition of Chrétien's Conte del Graal. The story of Percivale is recast in a modern setting in the film The Fisher King (1990). REACTION PAPER The story or the legendary life history of King Arthur shows feats of courage, leadership, romance, betrayal, adventure and has parts that give inspirational aspects to the readers or to those
interested in his life. As said in many books, that there are other versions of King Arthur’s story has made and posted a good reason for some to enjoy it because some of the stories are made with something that the viewers will like especially those young and young at heart, like magic, wizards, enchantress and others. This type of story is a good source of inspiration for children and even builds a child’s creativity and intellectual aspects. But there are also some disadvantages for this type of story especially if the story is said to be HISTORICAL, many critics may say that the life story of King Arthur is not real due to it is a mythical one or it is more to be a fiction. For me King Arthur is one of those Great Leaders that ruled in their countries. He is one of the great leaders because of his accomplishments done for the sake of his people and eventually for the best of his Kingdom. He is also a good adviser for he gives words of wisdom for the next kings or rulers of the kingdom. Unlike the other rulers of different countries, he is the one who stands out in the way of ruling his people, he does not only says what kind of the king he is but he even ensures the right of each of his people. He is equal in promoting laws whether you are in the highest form of government or not.