Le Morte d'Arthur

Brief Analytical Essay: The Fall of the Round Table and English Society College

What can the fall of the Round Table tell us about Malory’s view of English society and politics in the 15th century? Malory views the nature of the knight’s loyalties as destructive forces in themselves. Malory’s version of the King Arthur legend differs greatly from previous entries. The tale of the Round Table is given a more gritty and realistic telling. There is betrayal, adultery, blood feuds, among many other violent events described in visceral detail. The characters are also driven by complex motivations. There is greed, lust and revenge. Friends fight friends, brothers kill brothers, and lovers kill lovers. It bears a foreboding atmosphere well-suited for the tragedies that occur within the tale. All of these themes reflect the woe that England experienced during the War of the Roses. The civil war between England’s House of Lancaster and House of York marred the society and politics of 15th century England. It is a time of great uncertainty where loyalties are strained and betrayal is rife among lords in their desperate plays for power and prestige. The role of the knight in this chaotic period is also greatly challenged and redefined. Knights are forced to contradict their chivalric values by the turbulent political...

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