Aside from Monmouth, de Troyes, Mallory & Tennyson: Was there a KING ARTHUR? What say U??Whatever anyone says, I want to believe that there was a King Arthur or a Sir Arthur considering that the...

Aside from Monmouth, de Troyes, Mallory & Tennyson: Was there a KING ARTHUR? What say U??

Whatever anyone says, I want to believe that there was a King Arthur or a Sir Arthur considering that the rules of chivarly and knighthood continue to be followed all the way to the Geneva convention.

Plus, the female prototype of the demsel was born there. OOOOH how I wish!

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An old edition of Adventures in Appreciation (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 1980) says it is not likely that Arthur was ever a king, but that, according to modern historians, he was a dux bellorum, a Welsh war chief trained in warfare by the Romans. In 517 he commanded a cavalry in defeating Saxon invaders from Germany. This appears to be the beginning of the legend that developed over the centuries, as numerous writers created new characters and added new tales. No doubt the body of Arthurian legends is fiction, but would that King Arthur as we have come to know him were real. He's the ideal leader every generation longs for.

There are some pieces of literature I can read again and again without losing my sense of awe, and Tennyson's "The Passing of Arthur" is at the top of the list. It is just so beautiful--and so sad. "Authority forgets a dying king." I'm glad that none of the tales shows Arthur's actually dying. In Tennyson's version, the wounded Arthur is borne away on the barge with the four queens, finally disappearing into the new sun rising. I guess we've been waiting for him to return ever since.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love the idea, but based on historical evidence, there was no "King" Arthur.  I believe he was a real Celtic individual, perhaps the leader of a clan whom many revered and upheld as a true and honest man worthy of leading men to stand up for what is right in a world of chaos and unrest.  I have visited Glastonbury Abby (supposed burial site of Arthur and Guinevere) and it is such an amazing tale of chivalry and honor...a time that has long passed...interlaced with elements of magic and myth.  Our tour guide even suggested that a young Jesus visited Glastonbury which isn't too far fetched since Joseph of Arimathia owned a mine near the Abby which added to the legend and magical quality of the grounds.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you will research public television and A & E's programming, there have been many programs that address this question.  Certainly, as the above post mentions, there is a real area where Arthur's kingdom supposedly existed.  Like so many legends, the consensus of these programs has been that Arthur is modeled about a few different men.The legend of King Arthur survives because there is in the nature of man a necessity for myth, a necessity to believe in larger-than-life people who give meaning to the existence of all. 

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, want to believe in King Arthur, Guinevere, and Camelot--so I do.  Just asthere was probably a really amazing lumberjack named Paul Bunyan in the north and an unparalleled "steel-drivin' man" named John Henry who worked on the railroad, I believe there probably was an Arthur who was revolutionary in how he chose to rule whatever and whenever it was that he ruled.  He was undoubtedly not as polished and revered as Sean Connery, but I'm confident he existed somewhere.  Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but I believe.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Okay, I'm with the history buffs who say "no", but we need King Arthur types. If we don't have these characters in literature that we can at least imagine could have been almost real in 600 AD, then we even further loose culture that we have. That King Arthur unit has led to many clever and chivalrous ways that boys have learned to ask girls out on dates... even today. Without chivalry, or a morally perfect idea of Camelot, or knights who fight evil, we loose a sense of some of our own moral root in this world.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What human example underlies the myth of King Arthur I am sure we will never quite know, however I do believe there was an original King on whom the legendary character was based. What we are unable to do however is prise myth from reality and work out what is "exaggerated" and where the kernel of truth lies. I want to believe in it too though!

andreamodesto92 | Student

yeah nop i dont believe there is a King Arthur..

epollock | Student

I don't believe that there was a person of that tradition, but I believe that someone like him existed. That person could have been the ruler of a small unknown area with 10-12 advisers, sitting around a round table, going on quests together and developing some myths around their importance. But someone exactly like Arthur and his Knights would have left some kind of record.