King Arthur

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How many times does Arthur prove himself before being crowned king?

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In Malory's version of the King Arthur story, which is almost certainly the most influential version, Arthur proves himself six separate times before he is finally crowned king. To prove his right to rule, he must first pull a sword from a stone, but the lords continue resist and the trial is repeated multiple times. The drama ends on Pentecost, when the commoners, recognizing Arthur's divine right to kingship, demand he be crowned and the nobles accede.

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In one of the most famous stories of the King Arthur myth, Arthur proves his kingship by drawing the sword from the stone. Merlin devised this trial, in which whoever successfully removes the sword would be the rightful King of England.

If there can be said to be a definitive version of the Arthur myth, it is most probably Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory, dated to the fifteenth century. In Malory's version, Arthur will actually draw the sword on six separate occasions, before finally being crowned king.

According to Malory's version of the story, Arthur first draws the sword within the context of a New Year's tournament, not even intending to prove himself as king. Instead, Arthur pulls out the sword in order to give it to his foster brother for use in the tournament (because he had lost his own). Arthur will then repeat this feat in the presence of both his foster brother and his foster father, who recognize his kingship.

However, even though his closest family has been convinced, Arthur is still a long way from proving himself before the kingdom. Next, after his feat has been reported to the Archbishop, the trial will be held with the lords in attendance. Once again, Arthur is the only person able to pull out the sword, much to the anger of the various lords. They determine to repeat the trial on Candlemas, and when, once again, only Arthur can successfully draw the sword, they re-run the test on Easter with the same results.

The drama comes to an end on Pentecost, with what will be the final trial. When, once again, only Arthur can withdraw the sword, the commoners recognize Arthur's divine right to rule, demanding that he be crowned king and even threatening to kill anyone that opposes him. At last, his opponents are cowed and his crowning can proceed.

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