Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Arthur, king of Britain and head of the Round Table, a brave, just, and temperate ruler. He values the fellowship of his men above revenge for his queen’s infidelity, and he closes his eyes to her love for Launcelot until Mordred and Agravaine force him to act.
Queen Guenevere (GWEHN-eh-vihr), a jealous, passionate woman whose fury drives her lover Launcelot mad. She repents after the king is betrayed by Mordred, and she dies in a convent.
Launcelot du Lake
Launcelot du Lake (LOHN-seh-lot dew layk), the greatest of all the knights except those who achieve the Grail quest. He is, himself, granted a vision of the Grail, but his love for the queen bars him from success in spite of his deep and sincere penitence.
Tristram (TRIHS-truhm), the great Cornish knight who is the faithful and devoted lover of Isoud, the wife of his uncle, King Mark. Like Launcelot, he adheres firmly to the knightly code of honor and continues to fight for his country even after Mark has tried to have him murdered.
Isoud (ih-SOHD), an Irish princess, married to King Mark for political reasons although she has loved Tristram from the time she cured him of a wound incurred while he jousted with her brother.
Mark, the cowardly, jealous king of Cornwall, who becomes increasingly bitter and vengeful toward Tristram.
Isoud la Blanche Mains
Isoud la Blanche Mains (blah[n]sh mahn), Tristram’s wife, princess of Brittany.
Gawain (GAH-wihn), Arthur’s nephew. He stands for virtue and justice untempered by mercy in his uncle’s final contest with Launcelot, but he dishonors his fellowship earlier by beheading a lady and killing Lamorak de Galis when that knight was unarmed.
Sir Kay, Arthur’s sardonic, mocking foster brother and seneschal.
(The entire section is 911 words.)
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