Sunday, September 5, 2021

Symbolism and Virtue in the Legend of Lancelot

 From Ancient Origins:

However, his love for Guinevere stood against all else. Lancelot gives himself entirely over into the service of the lady he loves, alas to the detriment of all his knightly ideals and goals. Also, in accordance to the popular trends of the time, Lancelot exhibits towards her the  fine amor , meaning a pure  love that was a major attribute of proper chivalric behavior. 

Nevertheless, throughout the Arthurian cycle, Lancelot is presented with numerous challenges that serve as tests to his chivalry. In one episode, he is seduced and tricked into sleeping with the daughter of the so-called Fisher King, Elaine - while she was pretending to be Guinevere. From this union is born Galahad, another great hero of the Arthurian cycle, who grows up to be an ideal and pure knight.

Throughout the development of the story of Lancelot, it becomes clear that increasingly important  Christian beliefs come to play a big role in the story. Purity, sinlessness, and penitence all come to characterize this tale. Galahad, sinless and pure, replaces his father who succumbed to his passions and love for Guinevere. As the story progresses, Lancelot’s affair with the king’s wife completely tears the royal court apart. The supporters of Lancelot and those of  King Arthur  descend into a bitter and bloody war. (Read more.)


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