Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*France. The opening passages of this romance are set in France, allowing the writer to give credit to Marie of Champagne, who was his patroness and his encouragement in this effort. It also serves to lay the foundation for the introduction of the concept of courtly love into the Arthurian legends.


Camelot. The romance’s action opens at Arthur’s court in Camelot near Caerleon, placing the knights in the proper setting before they go on their quest to accompany and rescue the queen. The major portion of the romance takes place on the road and in the wilderness, demonstrating that the knights’ path would most often lead into the world of the unknown. Perhaps the most prominent symbol associated with the setting is that of the bridge.


Bridges. In order to realize his quest, the knight must cross the right bridge; often he is confronted by bridges that might take him in the wrong direction or even to his death. The completion of the quest demonstrates that the knight has taken the correct path and met the dictates of the code of chivalry, which are his guiding principles.