Arthur's goals: success and failure in T.H. White's The Once and Future King

Essay by klutz3572High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2004

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The Once and Future King Essay

Practice makes perfect. But nobody's perfect, so why practice? No matter how hard perfection is strived for, it can never be reached. In The Once and Future King by T.H. White, King Arthur wants nothing more for his kingdom than to be the perfect society, where war is used only when absolutely necessary and all the people are happy and peaceful. Today it is known that this is an impossible standard to set an entire kingdom/country to, especially when it's set in a time where war about the most trivial issues happens almost everyday. Arthur attempts to be flawless, but everything must have flaws. Arthur hopes to achieve perfection, but did not and could not succeed.

King Arthur wants a perfect society. While this is a very noble goal for a king to have, it is impossible to achieve, no matter how badly he wants it to work.

As part of this perfection, Arthur wants to reserve war only for when it is absolutely imperative and to use might for right. Arthur learns throughout his life about how to use might for right, how wasteful war between the same species is, and when to use it from animals like the badger, the goose, and fish named Mr. P. "'Of the hundreds of thousands of species, I can only think of seven which are belligerent.'" (194). This is not to say that his goal for might for right and peace are not righteous, but to expect that an entire country is to live like this is to expect to much.

Although Arthur has not achieved the perfection he strives for, he has accomplished many other wonderful things for his kingdom. England does not go to war unless completely necessary, such as the battle at the...