William Wordsworth The Arthurian Legend

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The Arthurian Legend
The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is the most powerful and enduring in the western world. King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot did not really exist, but their names conjure up a romantic image of gallant knights in shining armour, elegant ladies in medieval castles, heroic quests for the Holy Grail in a world of honour and romance, and the court of Camelot at the centre of a royal and mystical Britain. Although there are innumerable variations of the Arthurian legend, the basic story has remained the same. Arthur was the illegitimate son of Uther Pendragon, king of Britain, and Igraine, the wife of Gorlois of Cornwall. After the death of Uther, Arthur, who had been reared in secrecy, won acknowledgment as king of Britain by successfully withdrawing a sword from a stone, this is when the Arthurian Legend began. In the following paragraph I would like to discuss the origin and the great legend of King Author.
The Arthurian literary cycle is the best known part of the Matter of Britain. It has succeeded largely because it tells two interlocking stories that many later authors have been intrigued by. One concerns Camelot, usually envisioned as a doomed utopia of chivalric virtue, undone by the fatal flaws of Arthur and Sir Lancelot. The other concerns the quests of the various knights to achieve the Holy Grail; some succeed (Galahad, Percival), and others fail (Lancelot). Camelot was envisioned to be a place of chivalry but it was not so.
Camelot was the great castle of King Arthur. Camelot was the seat of power in Britain, where inside a council was established. Arthur and his knights who presided over the council were called Knights of the Round Table. Camelot symbolized the Golden Age of Chivalry. This castle was first mentioned for the first time in Chrétien de Troyes’ poem Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, dating to the 1170s, though it is not mentioned in all the manuscripts. It is mentioned in passing, and is not described: A un jor d’une Acenssion / Fu venuz de vers Carlion / Li rois Artus et tenu ot / Cort molt riche a Camaalot / Si riche com au jor estut (de Troyes).Upon a certain Ascension Day King Arthur had come from Caerleon, and had held a very magnificent court at Camelot as was fitting on such a day. Among the great he had was an even more magnificant set of knights. These men were the knights of the round t able. They were in Arthur’s court to protect and serve. The greatest among the knights was Sir Lancelot.
Sir Lancelot is known as both the greatest and the worst of the knights at the court of King Arthur. Lancelot is known as Lancelot of the Lake (or Lancelot du Lac) because he was raised by Vivien, the Lady of the Lake. He carries out various good deeds, including rescuing Queen Guinevere from Meleagant, an unsuccessful quest for the Holy Grail and the rescue of Guinevere after she is condemned to be burned to death for adultery with him.
Lancelot is entirely the creation of Chretien de Troyes and does not appear in the earlier chronicles of King Arthur. Lancelot first appears in Chretien de Troyes’ work “The Knight of the Cart”, written in the late 1100s – in this book he is a lesser ranked knight than Sir Gawain. Chretien, however, portrays Lancelot as the knight who is most skilled in arms and chivalry of all the knights in Camelot. He becomes the king’s champion, fighting challenges and undertaking quests in the king’s name. Eventually he becomes the adulterous lover of Queen Guinevere, and it is this relationship that causes Arthur’s Camelot to finally end. Other early prose mentioning Lancelot covered here.
The Vulgate Cycle follows chronologically after Chretien de Troyes work. The Vulgate Cycle is a comprehensive trilogy (‘Lancelot Propre’, ‘La Queste del Saint Graal’, and ‘La Mort de Roi Artu’), believed to have been compiled by Cistercian monks between 1215 and 1235. It marks the transition between verse and prose in Arthurian legend.
Malory wrote his stories 300 years after Chretien de Troyes, by then Lancelot had become more popular than Gawain (Malory portrays Gwain as a knight bent on revenge). In Malory, Lancelot is Arthur’s favorite, even although he kills Gawain’s brothers and commits adultery with Guinevere. For this sin, Lancelot can never see the Holy Grail. And the final tragedy is that eventually Arthur and Lancelot end up battling each other as Camelot tears itself apart.
Lancelot is loved by Elaine of Astolat (the daughter of King Pelles). Elaine tricks him – he thought she was Guinevere – into sleeping with her (and their union results in the birth of Galahad). Eventually his son Galahad is to see the Holy Grail and fulfill the Grail Quest; while Lancelot himself only saw a blurred vision and died knowing that his own sins had resulted in him to be unable to see the grail. Elaine meanwhile dies of grief as Lancelot does not return her love. Lancelot was also known for his role on the Knights of the Round Table
Sir Lancelot is known as both the greatest and the worst of the knights at the court of King Arthur. Lancelot is known as Lancelot of the Lake (or Lancelot du Lac) because he was raised by Vivien, the Lady of the Lake. He carries out various good deeds, including rescuing Queen Guinevere from Meleagant, an unsuccessful quest for the Holy Grail and the rescue of Guinevere after she is condemned to be burned to death for adultery with him.
Lancelot is entirely the creation of Chretien de Troyes and does not appear in the earlier chronicles of King Arthur. Lancelot first appears in Chretien de Troyes’ work “The Knight of the Cart”, written in the late 1100s – in this book he is a lesser ranked knight than Sir Gawain. Chretien, however, portrays Lancelot as the knight who is most skilled in arms and chivalry of all the knights in Camelot. He becomes the king’s champion, fighting challenges and undertaking quests in the king’s name. Eventually he becomes the adulterous lover of Queen Guinevere, and it is this relationship that causes Arthur’s Camelot to finally end. Other early prose mentioning Lancelot covered here.
The Vulgate Cycle follows chronologically after Chretien de Troyes work. The Vulgate Cycle is a comprehensive trilogy (‘Lancelot Propre’, ‘La Queste del Saint Graal’, and ‘La Mort de Roi Artu’), believed to have been compiled by Cistercian monks between 1215 and 1235. It marks the transition between verse and prose in Arthurian legend.
Malory wrote his stories 300 years after Chretien de Troyes, by then Lancelot had become more popular than Gawain (Malory portrays Gwain as a knight bent on revenge). In Malory, Lancelot is Arthur’s favorite, even although he kills Gawain’s brothers and commits adultery with Guinevere. For this sin, Lancelot can never see the Holy Grail. And the final tragedy is that eventually Arthur and Lancelot end up battling each other as Camelot tears itself apart.
Sir Lancelot is known as both the greatest and the worst of the knights at the court of King Arthur. Lancelot is known as Lancelot of the Lake (or Lancelot du Lac) because he was raised by Vivien, the Lady of the Lake. He carries out various good deeds, including rescuing Queen Guinevere from Meleagant, an unsuccessful quest for the Holy Grail and the rescue of Guinevere after she is condemned to be burned to death for adultery with him.
Lancelot is entirely the creation of Chretien de Troyes and does not appear in the earlier chronicles of King Arthur. Lancelot first appears in Chretien de Troyes’ work “The Knight of the Cart”, written in the late 1100s – in this book he is a lesser ranked knight than Sir Gawain. Chretien, however, portrays Lancelot as the knight who is most skilled in arms and chivalry of all the knights in Camelot. He becomes the king’s champion, fighting challenges and undertaking quests in the king’s name. Eventually he becomes the adulterous lover of Queen Guinevere, and it is this relationship that causes Arthur’s Camelot to finally end. Other early prose mentioning Lancelot covered here.
The Vulgate Cycle follows chronologically after Chretien de Troyes work. The Vulgate Cycle is a comprehensive trilogy (‘Lancelot Propre’, ‘La Queste del Saint Graal’, and ‘La Mort de Roi Artu’), believed to have been compiled by Cistercian monks between 1215 and 1235. It marks the transition between verse and prose in Arthurian legend.
Malory wrote his stories 300 years after Chretien de Troyes, by then Lancelot had become more popular than Gawain (Malory portrays Gwain as a knight bent on revenge). In Malory, Lancelot is Arthur’s favorite, even although he kills Gawain’s brothers and commits adultery with Guinevere. For this sin, Lancelot can never see the Holy Grail. And the final tragedy is that eventually Arthur and Lancelot end up battling each other as Camelot tears itself apart.
Lancelot is loved by Elaine of Astolat (the daughter of King Pelles). Elaine tricks him – he thought she was Guinevere – into sleeping with her (and their union results in the birth of Galahad). Eventually his son Galahad is to see the Holy Grail and fulfill the Grail Quest; while Lancelot himself only saw a blurred vision and died knowing that his own sins had resulted in him to be unable to see the grail. Elaine meanwhile dies of grief as Lancelot does not return her love. King Arthur not only had great knights in his court but he also had a magician for the Ages.
Merlin first appears in extant records (Armes Prydein, Y Gododdin) from the early 10th century as a mere prophet, but his role gradually evolved into that of magician, prophet and advisor, active in all phases of the administration of King Arthur’s kingdom. He was apparently given the name Emrys (or Ambrosius) at his birth in Caer-Fyrddin (Carmarthen). He only later became known as Merlin, a Latinized version of the Welsh word, Myrddin, taken from the place of his birth. Geoffrey of Monmouth is thought to have invented this form (as he did so much else), since he did not want his character to be associated with the French word, merde, meaning “excrement”.
Merlin was the illegitimate son of a monastic Royal Princess of Dyfed. The lady’s father, however, King Meurig ap Maredydd ap Rhain, is not found in the traditional pedigrees of this kingdom and was probably a sub-King of the region bordering on Ceredigion. Merlin’s father, it is said, was an angel who had visited the Royal nun and left her with child. Merlin’s enemies claimed his father was really an incubus, an evil spirit that has intercourse with sleeping women. The evil child was supposed to provide a counterweight to the good influence of Jesus Christ on earth. Merlin, fortunately, was baptized early on in his life, an event which is said to have negated the evil in his nature, but left his powers intact. The original story was presumably invented to save his mother from the scandal which would have occurred had her liaison with one Morfyn Frych (the Freckled), a minor Prince of the House of Coel, been made public knowledge.
Legend then tells us that after the Roman withdrawal from Britain and the usurpation of the throne from the rightful heirs, Vortigern was in flight from the Saxon breakout and went to Snowdonia, in Wales, in hopes of constructing a mountain fortress at Dinas Emrys where he might be safe(Malory106). Unfortunately, the building kept collapsing and Vortigern’s house wizards told him that a human sacrifice of a fatherless child would solve the problem. One small difficulty was that such children are rather hard to find. Fortunately for Vortigern’s fortress, Merlin was known to have no human father and happened to be available.
Before the sacrifice could take place, Merlin used his great visionary powers and attributed the structural problem to a subterranean pool in which lived a red and a white dragon. The meaning of this, according to Merlin, was that the red dragon represented the Britons, and the white dragon, the Saxons. The dragons fought, with the white dragon having the best of it, at first, but then the red dragon drove the white one back. The meaning was clear. Merlin prophesied that Vortigern would be slain and followed on the throne by Ambrosius Aurelianus, then Uther, then a greater leader, Arthur. It would fall to him to push the Saxons back.
True to the prophecy, Vortigern was slain and Ambrosius took the throne. Later, Merlin appears to have inherited his grandfather’s little kingdom, but abandoned his lands in favour of the more mysterious life for which he has become so well known. After 460 British nobles were massacred at a peace conference, as a result of Saxon trickery, Ambrosius consulted Merlin about erecting a suitable memorial to them. Merlin, along with Uther, led an expedition to Ireland to procure the stones of the Chorea Gigantum, the Giant’s Ring (Malory99). Merlin, by the use of his extraordinary powers, brought the stones back to a site, just west of Amesbury, and re-erected them around the mass grave of the British nobles. We now call this place Stonehenge.
After his death, Ambrosius was succeeded by his brother, Uther, who, during his pursuit of Gorlois and his irresistable wife, Ygerna (Igraine or Eigr in some texts), back to their lands in Cornwall, was aided by Merlin. As a result of a deception made possible by Merlin’s powers, Uther was transformed into the image of Gorlois( Malory96). He entered their castle, managed to fool Ygraine into thinking he was her husband, had his way with her and in the course of things, conceived a child, Arthur. Poor Gorlois, not knowing what was going on, went out to meet Uther in combat, but instead, was slain by Uther’s troops.
After Arthur’s birth, Merlin became the young boy’s tutor, while he grew up with his foster-father, Sir Ector (alias Cynyr Ceinfarfog (the Fair Bearded)). In the defining moment of Arthur’s career, Merlin arranged for the sword-in-the-stone contest by which the lad became king. Later, the magician met the mystic Lady of the Lake at the Fountain of Barenton (in Brittany) and persuaded her to present the King with the magical sword, Excalibur(Ashe78). In the romances, Merlin is the creator of the Round Table, and is closely involved in aiding and directing the events of the king and kingdom of Camelot. He is pictured by Geoffrey of Monmouth, at the end of Arthur’s life, accompanying the wounded Arthur to the Isle of Avalon for the healing of his wounds. Others tell how having fallen deeply in love with the Lady of the Lake, he agreed to teach her all his mystical powers(Malory67). She became so powerful that her magical skills outshone even Merlin’s. Determined not to be enslaved by him, she imprisoned the old man in a glass tower, a cave or similarly suitable prison. Thus his absence from the Battle of Camlann was ultimately responsible for Arthur’s demise.
According to Geoffrey’s “Vita Merlini” (c. 1151), Merlin/Myrddin was a sixth century prophet living in the north of Britain where his career extended beyond Arthur. Merlin travelled north, after Camlann, to the court of King Gwendoleu of Caer-Guenoleu (north of the Salway) where the locals called him Lailoken (or Llallogan). Shortly afterward, a war broke out between Merlin’s Royal master and the three allies, King Riderch Hael (the Generous) of Strathclyde and Kings Peredyr & Gwrgi of Ebrauc (York). Gwendoleu was killed in the ensuing Battle of Ardderyd (Arthuret) and Merlin, sent mad with grief at the death of his nephew and four brothers, fled into the Caledonian Forest. He lived there in a mad frenzy for over a year, becoming known as Myrddin Wylt (the Wild), before Riderch, who was his brother-in-law, found him and brought him to safety in the Strathclyde Court.
Some scholars believe there were two Merlins: Myrddin Emrys and Myrddin Wylt. The fact that Merlin apparently lived from the reign of Vortigern (c.420) to the reign of Riderch Hael (c.580) would certainly support this view. The stretch from Vortigern to Arthur is itself unlikely and early versions of the “Vortigern at Dinas Emrys” story give the fatherless boy as Emrys Wledig (Ambrosius Aurelianus) who was living in Campus Elleti in Glywysing. Despite Myrddin Wylt’s story indicating he may have had a conceptual origin in one of the wild-man-in-the-woods motifs common to the ancient folklore of the British Isles, this man’s historicity is quite well established. His real name, however, may have been Lailoken (Roberts76). Was this man misplaced in time, by Geoffrey of Monmouth, to become King Arthur’s mentor, some memory of a similar character from Caer-Fyrddin giving rise to his new name? PC Bartrum thinks not and points out that “fundamentally there is only one Merlin/Myrddin, and some of the later legends cannot be consistently classified as appropriate to one rather than the other.”
His prison and/or burial place is said to be beneath Merlin’s Mound at Marlborough College in Marlborough (Wiltshire), at Drumelzier in Tweeddale (Scotland), Bryn Myrddin (Merlin’s Hill) near Carmarthen (Wales), Le Tombeau de Merlin (Merlin’s Tomb) near Paimpont (Brittany) and Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) off the Lleyn Peninsula (Wales).

Malory, Thomas King Arthur and His Knights,:Select Tales(Riverside Edition,B8) Houghton Mifflin Date Published: 1968

Ashe, Geoffry The Discover of King Arthur, Guild Publishing, 1985

Roberts, Jeremy King Arthur Minneapolis : Lerner Publications Co., c2001

Date Published: 1968

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Although I am a strong critic of the use and effectiveness of economic sanctions, such as trade embargoes, for the sake of this assignment, I will present both their theoretical advantages and their disadvantages based upon my research. Trade embargoes and blockades have traditionally been used to entice nations to alter their behavior or to punish them for certain behavior. The intentions behind these policies are generally noble, at least on the surface. However, these policies can have side effects. For example, FDR's blockade of raw materials against the Japanese in Manchuria in the 1930s arguably led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which resulted in U.S. involvement in World War II. The decades-long embargo against Cuba not only did not lead to the topple of the communist regime there, but may have strengthened Castro's hold on the island and has created animosity toward the United States in Latin America and much suffering by the people of Cuba. Various studies have concluded that embargoes and other economic sanctions generally have not been effective from a utilitarian or policy perspective, yet these policies continue. Evaluation of the effectiveness of Trade Embargoes Strengths Trade embargoes and other sanctions can give the sender government the appearance of taking strong measures in response to a given situation without resorting to violence. Sanctions can be imposed in conjunction with other measures to achieve conflict prevention and mitigation goals. Sanctions may be ineffective: goals may be too elusive, the means too gentle, or cooperation from other countries insufficient. It is usually difficult to determine whether embargoes were an effective deterrent against future misdeeds: embargoes may contribute to a successful outcome, but can rarely achieve ambitious objectives alone. Some regimes are highly resistant to external pressures to reform. At the same time, trade sanctions may narrow the...