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Why is the story of Arthur so important to the history of British Literature?

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would only add that the symbol of King Arthur is almost a religious icon, a Christ-like figure. The legend is that Arthur will one day return (like Christ) and save England. The name Arthur means ‘bear-like’ and since the beginning of the Arthurian legend, strength, nobility and courage have been associated terms. There are other elements of the legend that represent virtuous, and in some cases even modern qualities. One example is the round table, which represents a republic or democratic equality. To make a stretch, the ‘round’ symbol has been associated with feminist iconography; mostly in the 20th century. Was the historical Arthur a feminist? Hard to say; probably not. The point is that so many parts of this legend are applicable to subsequent cultures and historical periods. That’s one reason why Arthur has been written...

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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