Farewell Of Lancelot And Guinevere Character Analysis

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Queen Guinevere is one of the main characters from the well known Arthurian legends. She is a Scottish princess who marries King Arthur of England and becomes his Queen. She is most commonly known for committing adultery with Sir Lancelot, who is one of King Arthur’s knights. The Knight of the Cart, written by Chrétien De Troyes during the Middle Ages, this legend is about how Sir Lancelot goes on a quest to rescue Guinevere, and their infamous night together in her bed. The poem by W.E.B. Henderson written in the early 20th century, “The Farewell of Lancelot and Guinevere” is about how after King Arthur’s death, Sir Lancelot returns to Guinevere and asks for her hand in marriage and although they are in love she declines out of respect for…show more content…
In the middle ages, women were viewed as inferior to men while in the early 20th century women were fighting for their rights and were becoming stronger individuals and these beliefs and attitudes about women contributed to the character development of Guinevere. Near the beginning of The Knight of the Cart, “[w]eak, sad, and sighing, the queen approached the palfrey; she mounted,” as she was ordered to do although she did not desire to do so (De Troyes 210). Here, Guinevere is told to get onto her horse, and although she does not want to, she begrudgingly does what she is told without any dispute and falls into the common role of women of the time period. Guinevere knows that she is inferior to men, and does not wish to face the consequences of disobeying a man’s orders. In the middle of the play “The farewell of Lancelot and Guinevere,” Sir Lancelot tries to convince Guinevere to marry him because King Arthur has died, but Guinevere replies with, “Nay, nay, it could not be” and proceeds to deny him constantly until he finally forfeits his efforts (Henderson). At this point of the play, Lancelot is begging Guinevere to marry him and she continues to refuse even though she is still in love with him. By refusing Guinevere demonstrates that she is an emotionally strong and independent woman which is what woman of the early 20th century were beginning to become. Although the women’s rights movement was in full swing at the time, women were still not looked at as strong and independent in the early 20th century, but women were in the process of becoming and convincing men that they were strong and independent. The differences of Guinevere between the two texts are also because of the writing styles of the
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