Monday, November 3, 2014


Guinevere – Various Names in Literature

Guinevere has been portrayed by various names in literature as the daughter of King Leodegrance of Cameliard by Malory, the daughter of King Ogrfan Gawr of Castell y Cnwclas by Welsh tradition, the daughter of King Garlin of Galore by Germanic tradition, the daughter of a Toman noble by Geoffrey of Monmouth as well as the wife of King Arthur by most of the people in the Arthurian legend.

One of the most prominent tales in the medieval romances relates about her love affair with Arthur’s chief knight named Sir Lancelot wherein the story first surfaced in Chretien de Troyes’s Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart and then reappeared in various cyclical Arthurian literature as a common motif beginning with Lancelot Grail Cycle of early 13th century going through the Post Vulgate Cycle and Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.The betrayal of Guinevere and Lancelot of Arthur eventually led to the defeat at the battle of Camlann by Sir Mordred.

Most Beautiful, Desirable – Manipulative Figure

Guinevere has been described as a very beautiful and desirable woman besides being manipulative. She had a number of male suitors, throughout her life but when she married King Arthur, she remained faithful to him.

It is not known why she has been connected with Lancelot, presuming that she was either forced into or engineered an extra marital relationship with Lancelot and was condemned according to the law prevailing at that time.

It is said that she would have been a willing accomplice to Mordred’s treachery against Arthur as related in Wace and Layamon or it could be that she was forced into it against her will as stated in John Harding’sChronicle.

In the Triads of the Island of Britain, tantalising glimpses of her original relationship with Mordred are related where he is portrayed forcing his way into Arthur’s Court and dragging the Queen from her throne and striking her.

Various Versions to the Story

The reason for this act has not be given but it could be that the incident may have been the outcome of some quarrels between Guinevere and her sister, Gwenhwyfach, who was the wife of Mordred and the cause of the Battle of Camlan.

There are various versions to the story that is related about Guinevere. According to Chretien in, `Le Chevalier de la Charrete’, the story is of a triangle between Lancelot, Guinevere and King Arthur and has several versions which are available in history.

This love story was the result of the fall of the round table of King Arthur. King Arthur is an amazing character and as he rose to the status of a king from a beggar, became a legendary hero, with pride and elegance. He has been admired by many along with his beautiful wife and his knight Lancelot.

Lancelot – Bravest Knight of King Arthur

Lancelot was the son of a king and queen, but was looked after by a Vivienne of the Lake who had presented him to King Arthur when he was 18 years of age and seemed to be the bravest knight of King Arthur and envisaged as the `knight in shining armour till he met Guinevere, who was the queen of King Arthur and fell in love with her.

Guinevere reciprocated his love and they were soon obsessed for one another, though at first the King was unaware of this affair.

While this affair continued, Sir Meliagaunt, another knight got to know about it and being suspicious, informed the King about the relationship where the charges were subdued by Lancelot.

Many other knights also grew suspicious and together they caught them unaware while in bed which ended their affairs wherein Lancelot fought the army and escaped while Guinevere was sent to the convent for her infidelity.

Guinevere – Remainder of her Life – Nun 

Some stories relate that she spent the remainder of her life as a nun while Lancelot spent his life in hermit and could not see Guinevere again. Others relate that she was being executed for her infidelity and Lancelot is said fought bravely with many knights to save Guinevere but in vain and their love remained locked in their heart for the rest of their lives.

As the story goes on, it portrays that it was Lancelot who fell in love with Guinevere and got into relationship with her which doomed Arthur’s realm and the scandalous affair in the court became a catalyst which destroyed the fellowship between the Knights of the Round Table.

There are different versions to the tale of Guinevere where, in some she is already married to Arthur where Lancelot sees her for the first time while in another tale, Guinevere and Arthur are not married but are betrothed.

 Still others relate that Arthur was in love with her, others say that it was a marriage of convenience. Most of King Arthur’s deeds and history has been related by legend which made him a fascinating figure along with the people who surrounded him.

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