King Arthur as Allegory

1132 Words5 Pages
Undoubtedly, one of the greatest fictional characters recognized in English literature is the majestic King Arthur. The hundreds of legends surrounding this central figure and his kingdom in Camelot each have their different tweaks but contain the same basic plotlines: the marriage of Arthur and Guinevere, the betrayal of Guinevere and Lancelot, and the culminating battle between Arthur and his illegitimate son Mordred. Despite this compelling tale on the surface that has been alive for over a thousand years, a closer look deeper into its origins provides the true insight into the complexity of this beloved legend. As a compilation of Celtic mythology, pagan symbols, and Christian allegory, perhaps the element that stands out the most is the latter as it is reflected consistently throughout the legend. The beginnings of Arthur as king are an interesting juxtaposition of pagan symbolism and Christian allegory. His removal of Excalibur from the stone reflects heavily on the pagan practice of icon worship, with the sword seen as the ultimate source of magical powers and associated with sovereignty of Great Britain. It is also in this scene of the movie, or excerpt of the legend, that the viewer or reader is simultaneously presented with the idea of Arthur as the “Chosen One”, an almost Christ-like figure with humble beginnings who is destined to be an important part of his world. Just as God had chosen Jesus Christ to spread his good news in the New Testament, to be the dynamic change that brought controversy and contradiction to the Jewish people, it seems there is an external source of power that has deemed Arthur the fated leader of his people; the king that, following the corruption and controversy of his father’s rule, will bring peace and glory to the people of his kingdom. In ascending to the throne, Arthur builds Camelot, his prized castle and fantastic
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