The Once and Future King

Wart's Most Valuable Lesson 10th Grade

Absolute monarchies have carried a negative connotation throughout history and have been the source of many rebellions and wars. However, if an absolute monarch learns to be just and execute his power rationally, then his or her reign can be pleasant and the nation can be at peace. In T.H. White’s the Sword in the Stone, a novel set in medieval England, a great wizard named Merlin sets out to educate Wart, the unknowing future king of England. In a series of adventures and various transformations into various creatures, Wart gains experience and learns lessons that Merlin hopes will guide him towards being a successful king. A king is truly successful when the people he serves are satisfied with his service, especially in this feudal period, when a king’s power was virtually unlimited. The most valuable lesson that Wart learns throughout his adventures comes from his very first transformation into a fish, in which he observes Merlin set the precedent for treatment towards those less fortunate, views the effects of absolute monarchy on both the ruler and the ruled, and learns how to pick his battles.

Merlin sets the precedent for Wart, displaying how he should treat someone with a lesser fortune and lower status. When the poor,...

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