Perhaps more than anything, the text of The Mists of Avalon juxtaposes Morgaine and Gwenivere, thereby setting up a powerful dichotomy between religion, sexual freedom, lifestyle, and choice. While Gwenivere is a queen, trapped without choice in a patriarchal kingdom, Morgaine is a free spirited priestess who works against the laws of her growing Christian world. However, Bradley does incorporate aspects of medieval history (for example], in the Middle Ages women were often forced to enter into marriage against their will). Thus, while Morgaine is able to live freely in Avalon, she is exposed to the laws of man outside in the patriarchal world of Camelot. She is manipulated by both the men and women around her for social and political gain. For example, Morgaine leaves Avalon and gives up her station as priestess when she discovers that Viviane sent her to her brother's bed. As well, she accepts her fate when she is manipulated by Gwenivere into marrying Uriens, who is old enough to be her father, instead of Accalon, the man she truly loves.
The Mists of Avalon begins dramatically with a note from Morgaine in the prologue of the text:
In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen. Now in truth I have come to be a wise woman, and a time may come when these things may need to be known. But in sober truth, I think it is the Christians who will tell the last tale. For ever the...
(The entire section is 1529 words.)
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