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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

right (247).

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

minds freedom.


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