What warning does King Arthur receive in his dream in Morte d'Arthur?
How do circumstances frustrate his attempt to heed this warning?
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In Malory's Morted'Arthur, Arthur is warned by Sir Gawain not to lead his army against Mordred the next day. If Arthur fights Mordred tomorrow, he and many men on both sides will die. Gawain tells Arthur to postpone the battle for a month to give Lancelot time to arrive.
Arthur attempts to heed the warning, but when the armies are gathered and in the process of discussing peace, an adder stings a knight on the foot. When the knight draws his sword to kill the adder, he sparks the battle. Both sides see a drawn sword and assume treachery. As a result, Arthur is killed and Camelot doomed.
"Arthur, encouraged by Gawain, invades France and renews the war. Mordred takes advantage of Arthur’s absence and declares himself king. He attempts to marry Guinevere, but she escapes. Upon learning of Mordred’s treachery, Arthur and his army return to England. Gawain’s life is taken when a battle ensues on the landing grounds. Before he dies, however, he repents for pressing Arthur to make war on Lancelot. Arthur is urged in a dream to make a one-month truce with Mordred; the usurper agrees, but both he and the king tell their men to attack if a sword is brandished. Unluckily, a knight is bitten on the foot by an adder, and when he raises his sword to kill the serpent, a general battle breaks out. One hundred thousand participants are killed and, at the conclusion of the carnage, Arthur and Mordred meet in single combat. Arthur runs his son through with his spear but simultaneously receives a mortal wound to the head. Finally, only he and Sir Bedivere remain alive."
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