Le Morte Darthur

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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In Malory?s The Morte Darthur, honor is directly linked to love. When Brewer discusses love?s goodness he is referring to the genuine love between Lancelot and Guenevere. This love is defined as the fulfillment of desire, the pleasure, the happiness of possessing the love of the beloved. Despite the fact that Lancelot and Guenevere are committing adultery, it is not a lustful affair, but instead, a relationship of pure innocence. The virtuous love between them consists of honesty, faithfulness, openness, stability, unselfishness, and kindness towards one another. This is illustrated when Lancelot denies the advances of a maiden early in the book. In effect he disclaims all interest in love for other women. Lancelot demonstrates honor towards Guenevere because he is obligated to do so under the code of chivalry.

In contrast, Brewer?s comment on love?s criminality refers to the deception of King Arthur, the adultery, and the destruction of the social order.

This is correlated with Lancelot?s duty and honor towards the knighthood and King Arthur. Honor, or worship, is the ?strongest motivating force in society? (Brewer 25). This honor is stronger than love and a main focus is the personal loyalties Lancelot is supposed to have towards the King. The predicament is evidenced by the fact that Lancelot took an oath of the High Order of Knighthood, which explicitly says ?no man [should] take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no love ne for no worlds goods? (Brewer 27). Yet Lancelot is in conflict with this oath because he engages in a wrongful quarrel for the love of Guenevere (King Arthur?s wife), and by doing this he forfeits all honor.

Lancelot?s honorable love and his love of honor lead him to be disloyal to Arthur. Because he loves Guenevere passionately, and because...