In William Caxton's preface to the first edition of Le Morte d'Arthur, he explains that he published it to provide a model for good behavior. How well does from Malory's romance fulfill Caxton's purpose?

Malory's text is less a model of how to behave than a presentation of humanity in all its complexities and failings, particularly when it comes to trying to live by an ideal.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While virtue and heroism are major themes in Le Morte d'Arthur, to present the text as a moralistic treatise on good behavior would be problematic, to say the least. It is true that there are plenty of characters in the story who are pure of heart and remain true to their knightly calling; for example, Galahad is a devoted Christian who forsakes physical desire to better approach his calling as a knight. However, the remarkable thing about the characters in Le Morte d'Arthur is that...

(The entire section contains 252 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on