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King Arthur’s Evolution Of Might And Right Essay, Research Paper
When Arthur was a young boy, he was taught by an old magician who knew
the future because it composed his past. The old necromancer taught
Arthur many things, lessons only a magician could teach. He would turn his
pupil into different creatures and put him in different places so Arthur could
learn on his own. The magician, Merlyn believed that Education is
experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance (46). Through all
of his lessons and through all of his experiences, Arthur s ideals and
philosophies changed. They start out reflecting society, and when Arthur
becomes King and begins to think for himself, he realizes that the past ways
were wrong. In order to fix the past King Arthur redefines might and right.
He does so to make life more pleasant and peaceful.
These lessons taught Arthur about the governing mindset of the times.
Like any other child, the young Arthur s mind was very malleable, so from
his surroundings he learned that might is right. He learned this by watching
the knights at Sir Ector s castle, from his schooling, from the Games mad
society in which he was raised. Everywhere he looked, he saw games that
determined the winner by force, knights doing feats because they could- not
because they should. Also for Arthur s first lesson, Merlyn changed him into
a fish where he met Mr. P, the fish who controlled the moat. Why did he
control the moat? Because his philosophy was might is right. Mr. P was
evidently a large and powerful fish who did what he wanted, because he-
like the knights- could. Mr. P taught Arthur that, Love is a trick played on us
by the forces of evolution. Pleasure is the bait laid down by the same.
There is only Power…Power of the body decides everything in the end, and
only Might is Right (52).
This is Arthur s first view concerning Might and Right, although it is not
his last. To mark the end of this ideology, Arthur removes the sword from
the stone, signifying that he is to be the new King of England. I think this is
used because it took strength and genealogy to pull the sword out, but it
was done with the thought, if I can do this, I will be correcting my mistake.
The next theory with might and right is no longer might is right, but
Might for Right. For the first thought concerning might and right Merlyn
brought Arthur to the teacher, but for the second theory, Merlyn teaches
Arthur himself. He says, Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not by
force. (233) And later on, Arthur agrees and decides that you should not do
things because you can, but rather because you ought to do them. Merlyn
brought this idea to Arthur by teaching him that killing people is not fun, and
war is not the way to rule people. Arthur later states that Might is not
Later on, Arthur displays his kingdom s new ideology by setting up a
round table seated with the best knights of King Arthur s realm. These
knights were to ride around the country rescuing damsels in distress and
performing good deeds because it is the right thing to do. Arthur s number
one knight in this area is the young Sir Lancelot. Lancelot was a great
knight, a pure-hearted coward whose fighting skills were second to none.
Lancelot rode across the country performing many brave deeds. He
rescued a woman from boiling water, tilted for a damsel s father, and many
other good things.
Although this is a great plan, it had one flaw. The flaw is that the
mighty knights have nothing to do since all the good that could be done, are
done. Arthur realized this …all the fighters of the Table are going to
rot… (433) and decided to change might and right for a second time. This
time he decided to use his knights for something that is infinite. The King
decided to use his knights and their Might for God. During this era, the
knights of the round table went on quests for holy relics, including the holy
grail! During this way of thinking, Arthur lost most of his knights. Quite a
few died because they would not go to confession before the quests, others
died on the way, and a couple abandoned the Round Table.
The idea of Might for God came to an end when the questing knights
found the Holy Grail and learned that it could not be brought back to
Camelot. Arthur, again, was in need of a new philosophy, so he chose
might as law and Law as Power. Fashion and modernity and the rot at the
Tables heart were in hiding, and his great idea was on the move once
more. He was inventing law as power. (509)
This was probably Arthur s most challenging philosophy to follow. In
Arthur s life, his beloved wife was having an affair with his best friend,
Lancelot. The affair was brought to light and Arthur was forced to follow the
law and burn his wife at the stake and banish his best friend from all of
Arthur s land, and prevent him or anyone else from saving Queen
Guinevere. This was the final law that Arthur imposed during his reign
before it came to a tragic end by his illegitimate son who betrayed Arthur on
the fields of Salisbury in Arthur s last battle.
Throughout the King s life, he instituted many great and noble tasks
and ideas. But all had one fatal flaw, they were designed to solve the
problems of the past while ignore the complications of the future. Arthur s
end is not falling to a hopeless closing, infact it is now at a point of great
hope. Arthur leaves his ideals, legacy, hopes, dreams, and forethought with
a man who has the internal strength to carry King Arthurs torch, the candle
in the wind. Arthur has left all of his wisdom and knowledge with Tom of
Warwick. The most important thing The Once And Future King is passing
down to his successors is the hope that some day mankind will be able to
rise above or most primitive instict to over come situations using reason-our
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