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Le Morte D'Arthur

I. The Tale of Arthur

1. Discuss the meaning of each chapter and how Malory explains that meaning.

     a. Merlin
     b. Balin
     c. Torre and Pellinore
     d. The War With the Five Kings
     e. Arthur and Accolon
     f. Gawain, Uwayne, and Marhaus

2. "The Tale of Arthur" can be subtitled "The Birth of the Ideal." Explain this using specific examples from the book.

II. Arthur and Lucius - The Universal Order

1. The purpose of this book is to establish a universal order. How do Arthur and his knights accomplish this? Include in your answer the fight with the giant, the right of Arthur to battle Lucius, the battle, and the "trip" to Rome.

2. Discuss the spiritual conduct of Arthur versus the spiritual conduct of Lucius. Give specific examples.

3. Tell how the "sub-theme" - the Universal Order - is developed.

III. Launcelot du Lake - The Perfect Worldly Knight

1. According to this book, Launcelot is the "perfect worldly knight." If this is true, what is the perfect worldly knight supposed to be? What are his tests? Be specific.

IV. Sir Gareth - The Fair Unknown

1. Sir Gareth is the continuation of the ideal knight. Trace his development as a knight. What was the purpose of his serving in the kitchen? Why does he take abuse from the lady? What new aspect of nobility do we see? Etc.

2. Tell how the "sub-theme" - the Fair Unknown - is developed.

V. Sir Tristram - The Man of Love

1. The Tale of Tristram is about love. Give an example of a noble lover and an example of a thwarted or unworthy lover. How does their love affect their "knighthood"?

2. The over-all theme of this tale is that the hero must be not only the man of prowess and courtesy but also the man of love. Stressing the nobility that realized love can give to a knight, the book of Tristram also shows what happens when love is unsatisfied or thwarted, or when the lover is, or thinks he is, out of his lady's favor. Give specific examples of both the "noble" lovers and the "thwarted" lovers. How are these men portrayed as knights? How do they compare to the perfect worldly knight?

II., III, IV., V. "The Tale of King Arthur and the Emperor Lucius", "The Tale of Sir Launcelot Du Lake", "The Tale of Sir Gareth", and "The Tale of Sir Tristram of Lyoness"

The Tales of The Emperor Lucius, Launcelot du Lake, Sir Gareth, and Sir Tristram together can be subtitled "Prowess, Courtesy, and Love". These tales continue to show us what the world of chivalry is supposed to be. What does each section tell us about the Knights of the Round Table? How should each knight conduct himself? How should each knight not conduct himself? Be specific in discussing each tale.

VI. The Quest of the Sangreal

1. The book of the Sangreal has four main characters - Launcelot, Perceval, Bors, and Galahad. Galahad was perfect from the beginning and needs no purification. For each of the other three, trace his development from imperfect, worldly knight to purification as seen in the tale. Describe each one's adventures on the quest. What are the trials for each? Treat each character as a separate essay question.

2. If the quests of Galahad, Perceval, and Bors form the main plot of the tale, then the quest of Launcelot must be viewed as a subplot. At the same time, this quest is very important in the structure of the Grail story. The noblest knight of this world is not merely being replaced by the successful Grail Questers. His story parallels the main action of the tale but Lancelot cannot achieve perfection. Trace Launcelot's adventures on his quest of the Holy Grail

VII. The Book of Sir Launcelot and Queen Gwynevere

1. The most significant section of "The Book of Sir Launcelot and Queen Gwynevere" is the "Healing of Sir Urry." Discuss the section fully! Include the significance of the story as a focal point for the main action.

2. While riding in a forest, Launcelot is struck in the rear by an arrow shot by a lady that dwelled in that forest who was a great huntress who was hunting a barren hind. This woman is symbolic of Diana, goddess of the hunt and chastity. Why does Malory put this into the story? What is significant about this episode?

3. This tale presents a world very similar to that seen before the Knights of the Round Table went off on their Quest of the Holy Grail. Such a return may be necessary for imperfect man. Explain this.

VIII. Le Morte D'Arthur

1. Using the idea of the Wheel of Fortune, discuss the final tale, "Le Morte D'Arthur", and how it fits into the whole book. Include the inscription on Arthurís tomb: Hic Iacet Arthurus, Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus.