Legal instability and societal breakdown in La mort le roi Artur

Update item information
Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Humanities
Department Languages and Literature
Faculty Mentor Jerry Root
Creator Webb, Andrew
Title Legal instability and societal breakdown in La mort le roi Artur
Year graduated 1991
Date 1991
Description The death of King Arthur and the twilight of his empire are attributed by many scholars to the adulterous love affair between Queen Guinevere and Lancelot. Indeed their adulterous relationship seems to set off a chain of events that leads to the inglorious demise of almost all of the Knights of the Round Table. In fact, if one looks more closely, adultery is not the central problem of this romance. It is actually the outdated and unjust system of law that is cause for this disastrous finale. This thesis explores the numerous instances of injustice, particularly against the queen, as the vehicle that drives the plot. These injustices are derivative of the failings of Arthurian law, which itself is a reflection of the medieval law present during and before the novel's composition. In a system dominated by divine justice, one can break the famous rule, "There is no one who is higher than the Law." The Knights of the Round Table are loyal to this law; indeed, the Round Table is itself a symbol which signifies the equality of all who sit there. In La Mort du Roi Arthur, Lancelot must become "above the Law," in order to save the honor, and life, of the queen who, under the narrow scope of law in the Arthurian court, is threatened with death multiple times. Frustrations, blood-feuds, and untimely deaths result from the inefficient system of law in La Mort. Perhaps a comment by the anonymous author of the major pitfalls of medieval law, it is the legal system rather than adultery that leads to the complete eradication of the Knights of the Round Table.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Legend of King Arthur; Arthurian law
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Andrew Webb
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 640,354 bytes
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s6tx6qqn
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-11-10
Date Modified 2019-07-10
ID 205921
Reference URL