Download Morte d'Arthur Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"Authority Forgets A Dying King"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In this narrative, based on the fifteenth century work of Sir Thomas Malory, Tennyson gives the "passing of Arthur." In the last battle, during which the Knights of the Round Table have fallen one by one, King Arthur receives a fatal wound. He is carried by Sir Bedivere, the last of his knights, to a ruined chapel between the ocean and a lake. There the dying king commands Sir Bedivere to descend to the shore of the lake and to throw the magic sword Excalibur into the water, thus to return it to the Lady of the Lake who had given it to him many years before. Twice Sir Bedivere tries to carry out the king's command, but each time he is so dazzled by Excalibur's beauty that he cannot bring himself to cast the sword into the lake. Each time the king asks him what he has seen and heard, and Bedivere replies that he has...

(The entire section is 301 words.)