Explain why you suppose the story of King Arthur has had lasting appeal.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mythology of King Arthur has helped to draw its appeal for generations.  The idea of the great king is something that in universal because all people seek a ruler that represent only the best.  The notion of an adviser, such as Merlin, is also appealing because it helps to reinforce the idea that all people are in search of a "master" or "teacher."  The Arthurian legend is connected to the Knights of the Round Table, where a collection of great individuals that seek only the betterment of the world through noble ideas captures individuals' imagination.  A collection of great and skilled individuals where there is"equal status" present in the drive for the kingdom's best also appeals to human hopes and desires.  It also embodies the code of chivalry, something lost in our world today and thereby increasing its appeal.  The sword, Excalibur, represents enduring appeal because there is one weapon that only Arthur possesses, one element that only he can handle.  I think that even Arthur's own failings as a husband have allure.  The idea of being betrayed by one's closest associate is a universal element, in examining the relationship between Lancelot and Arthur.  The wife's betrayal and the results of it is also something that holds appeal, as individuals can recognize their own experiences in an archetypal figure.

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The Once and Future King

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