Extract Number 2
Word Count: 716
Tennyson's Morte D'arthur emphasizes the breakdown of an era of rule and authority and a rise in chaos, which is accordant with the collapse of Arthur's kingdom. Although this extract does consist of melancholic themes, it also offers a glimmer of hope. The eventual discarding of the sword "Excalibur" which "flash'd and fell" on the third time of asking is one of the examples of a sequence of three within the poem, which occurs frequently throughout the text. The capitalized name for his sword "Excalibur" not only encapsulates the legend of Arthur and his importance but it embodies a way of life for Bedivere. The fact it is being discarded hints at the instability the world faces without Arthur's rule. However, hope and faith is partially restored by Bedivere's account of "an arm" which was "clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful" who "caught" the sword and "brandish'd him" This is an example of a rule of three, which within literature of the western tradition can commonly represent the completion of a sequence and reaching of a resolution.
The Latin phrase 'omne trium perfectum' or 'every set of three is complete' conveys this same idea. This could reflect Arthur's reign over the kingdom coming to an end, or perhaps more morbidly, his life coming to an end. The listing of adjectives to describe the weapon slows down the pace of the verse and adds to the magnificence of the sword. The splendor has previously been alluded to in the poem with the use of light imagery, with frequent references to the sword's blinding beauty. The sword is personified using masculine pronouns such as "him" which is significant as the weapon originally belonged to a female, the Lady of the...