"The Once and Future King": an analysis of themes within the novel by T.H. White.

Essay by mick13High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2005

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Within the novel, "The Once and Future King", a theme that is prevalent is the use of unnecessary warfare which leads to nothing but death and suffering. White goes so far as to make satirical suggestions that knights are more brawn than brains, and that the majority of those involved in war are like the ants that Arthur dealt with, mindless robots that operate at the whim of the one who rules them.

When Arthur became an ant, he heard a voice inside his head which seemed to be giving him directions. The voice was preparing the colony for war with a neighboring colony. It continuously broadcasted what seemed to be religious sentiments advocating mindless violence against the neighboring colony. Arthur came across a pair of dead ants and began to realize the monotonous existence of these two ants, that they lived to do the bidding of the colony.

With the image of these two dead ants, White ties in his antiwar sentiments by making soldiers out to be pawns in the game of war, fed propaganda that they readily believe because they lack the mental ability to see past the violence. The ants acted on trial and error basis, they did menial tasks until the duty set by the colony was complete. Arthur began to grow irritated with the robotic lifestyle and saw how unnecessary war was unless it was used in self defense, just as Merlin had explained to him.

White makes this theme of the lack of necessity for war clear throughout the book, that war is for those that lack the intellectual strength to see past the differences in culture and ways of life that begin conflicts in the first place, such as the knights who hide in their armor and kill...