A comparison of Malory's Morte d' Arthur and Camelot

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 1996

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An Epic Hero for Modern Times

In about 1470, Thomas Malory finished Morte d' Arthur, the

first of the many legends written about King Arthur. Even in modern

times, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are a favorite

subject in movies, books, and plays. Often times this is so because the

Medieval Period in general, and King Arthur in particular, have an air

of mystery, romance, fantasy, and adventure that are popular themes in

all times and cultures. I compared Malory's Morte d' Arthur with

Camelot, a movie produced in 1967 that stars Richard Harris as King

Arthur and Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere.

Camelot covers the period in Arthur's life from when he meets

his future wife Guenevere to the beginning of his siege against Sir

Lancelot's castle in France. The short excerpt of Morte d' Arthur tells

of how King Arthur abandons his assault on Lancelot to defend

Camelot and all of England from Mordred.

Because Camelot seems to

immediately precede Morte d' Arthur and there is no overlap in the

story, the way the plot is handled in each work cannot be debated. I

will however, discuss the mood, tone, and characterization of a few

key figures in the two works.

One difference in character that I found was that in the

introduction to Morte d' Arthur, Mordred is referred to as King

Arthurs nephew. Later in the text, when Arthur and Mordred are

fighting (p. 96, para.1) it says, '. . . so he smote his father King Arthur

with his sword holden in both hands, upon the side of the head . . .'

In Camelot, Mordred is Arthur's illegitimate son, although he keeps

this a secret. This possibly explains the contradiction of Mordred's

position in the two pieces. Another difference...