In a way, this Blog post is meant to introduce you to, and invite you to practice, skills that you will be using for your upcoming Hero Paper – which will be a comparative account of a premodern mythological hero (or theme, etc.). For this Blog, then, I want you to compare a specific character from Malory’s Morte D’Arthur with a character from another text we have read lately in Unit Two. So, you could compare King Arthur or one of his companions (Lancelot, Gawain, Guinevere, etc.) to such figures as Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Sigurd, Roland, Thor, Culhwch, Deirdru, and so on. Whichever figure(s) you choose to use as the basis of your comparison, the key is not just to note that there are similarities and differences at play but to illustrate them, and investigate them. In so doing, you must demonstrate how bringing your two characters together reveals something about them (their beliefs, behaviors, society, etc.) that would not have been clear otherwise. Thus, much like your second major paper, this response is asking you consider how bringing the two characters helps to illuminate their (respective) meaning and significance; it highlights why it is important to read them together and explains what gets learned through this comparative and analytical negotiation.
I will be comparing Lancelot from Le Morte D’Arthur and Thor, from the Norse mythology tales. Both Lancelot and Thor are incredibly strong men viewed as heroes. They’re valued by their people and they display characteristics of bravery, extreme masculinity, and cleverness. Both men are the best at what they do.
Lancelot is a ladies man, and defeats competitors that no one else can. Lancelot is just a mortal, but he’s well above average compared to the other knights. A major strength and weakness of Lancelot, is his devotion. He is devoted to his wife, Gwenyvere, and his love for her is his downfall.
Thor, is a God. He’s a warrior, but he’s not an average human so he has many advanced skills and advantages over humans. Thor has a magic hammer that he uses to defeat his enemies and when he throws it the hammer always returns to him. Thor’s weakness is that he seems to depend on this hammer. Without the hammer Thor is weak. Thor goes as far as to compromise his honor by dressing in drag to retrieve his hammer when it is stolen.
Both characters value honor. These men go pretty far to gain honor, and keep it too. Thor compromises his honor, but he seems to regain it by slaughtering everyone on the island of the giant that steals his hammer from him. Lancelot sets aside his love for honor. He swears to devote himself to God and his quest, even though in the end he ultimately fails his quest, he puts his honor over his relationships.
Bringing these two texts together illustrates the importance of honor in medieval times. The fact that Thor is a God, but has the capability to die is significant because it shows that dying for your men and people was viewed as an honorable act. The same goes for putting quests and the good of the people over relations concerning love and marriage. It is one thing to be strong and mighty, but when you have to give something up, that shows great strength. Although, Thor doesn’t give anything up, he puts his life on the line, even though as a God he doesn’t have to. Medieval people must value those who make sacrifices for their people and the greater good, because besides life and relations, common people didn’t have much else to live for.
The fact that to have honor you must sacrifice something draws parallels with the church. To have great authority in the Catholic church you must devote yourself to God, meaning you can not get married. In medieval times religion and state rule were linked, so it would make sense that if religious leaders had to give something up, that other people of great honor would have to do so as well.
In this blog post I will be comparing Sir Lancelot from ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’ and Roland from ‘Song of Roland’. Both Roland and Sir Lancelot are the best at what they do. They are both powerful and strong men. They are highly favored by the people around them.
Sir Lancelot is called by many the greatest and most honorable knight. Even though King Arthur is coming to attack Lancelot and his men are all telling him run, Lancelot refuses to fight. He tells his men he is reluctant to shed blood against Arthur. His solution to the problem? Send a messenger and ask for peace, because peace is a much better solution than violence. Lancelot is extremely noble when it comes to this situation. In another instance, he refuses to continue to fight Sir Gawain when he is injured because he knows it is dishonorable.
Much like Lancelot, Roland is a noble and strong warrior. He is sent by Charlemagne to fight and is devoted to keeping his promise to the king and their kingdom. Even though Oliver warns him that they will be overpowered, Roland refuses to call for help. He doesn’t want to seem weak. When Roland dies, he is mourned and respected by his people. Unlike Lancelot however, Roland does not think about the consequences of fighting and battling the Saracens. He does not seek out peace and instead blindly follows orders and refuses to believe any other side but his own is right.
By bringing these two together it really shows the value that honor held in both time periods. To be honorable meant that you were held in high esteem. Dying in battle doing something for your kingdom was one of the most honorable things of all. Both men were strong, not just physically, but emotionally. By comparing Lancelot to Roland, you can see the very clear differences of morals. Mentioned above, Lancelot refuses to fight Arthur even though Arthur may have been in the wrong. Unlike what happened in ‘Le Morte d’Arthur’, Roland fights blindly even though the Saracens didn’t really do anything wrong. All in all, while they share similarities, comparing them reveals the distinct differences between them.
Devotion to religion is a trope that is apparent in Morte D’Arthur, through the character Sir Galahad, as well as many of the stories that we have discussed so far in Unit 2. While it is an important aspect of The Song of Roland, I’d like to specifically focus on comparing Sir Galahad to Joan of Arc. Both were divinely blessed at young ages, Galahad before he was even born, and were completely devoted to their religion and to god. This lead them both to achieve greatness later in their lives, however, their fated ends are drastically different, adding conflict to the views of divine power being given to those destined to use it.
Sir Galahad is conceived when Launcelot is tricked into sleeping with Elayne of Corbin, who is the daughter of a family with a lineage stretching back to Joseph of Arimathea, the legendary keeper of the Holy Grail. Elayne reveals to Lancelot that he was deceived in order to fulfill a prophecy and that her child will grow to become the greatest knight in the world, destined to achieve the Holy Grail by god’s will. While Joan was not fated before birth to achieve great things, she was eventually visited at the age of 13. She saw visions of a figure she identified as Saint Michael who told her she would be visited by Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret would soon follow and advance her instruction and that she must go to succor the King of France. It wasn’t until she turned 17 that she was given direct plans consisting of her being the one to liberate her country, being something Joan would achieve also by god’s will much like Galahad.
Both Galahad and Joan were essentially the “chosen ones” of their respective times. Both were the ones worthy enough to have their fates revealed to them, whether that be finding the Holy Grail or being the savior of your country, and both successfully fulfilled their divine duties. However, their stories did not end the same. As Galahad travels back to King Arthur’s Court, he experiences a glorious rapture that he makes his request to die, a wish he was granted after retrieving the Holy Grail. Galahad bids Percival and Bors, his companions, farewell, and angels take him to Heaven.
Joan, on the other hand, did not receive the same glorious send-off. During her time, she was captured by The Duke of Burgundy and thrown in numerous prisons around England after many escape attempts. When Joan’s trial began, she was tried by the Church instead of the State. She was believed to be a witch due to the fact that she behaved strangely, she heard mysterious “voices” in her head, she liked to go off by herself for long periods of time, she had unusually good luck, and she usually wore men’s clothing, and for that she was convicted of heresy and sentenced to burn at the stake. To the end, she continued to claim that the angels she had heard all her life were real, and she called upon them for help as she burned to death.
This I feel shows a great conflict between the mythic ideals of being divinely blessed and then what seems to be a real-life example of the same. While Galahad was rewarded for his efforts, Joan was burned by her enemies, and it brings up the question; if Galahad had been real and had been put in Joan’s shoes, would he have been treated the same way? Or even if Joan had been written into the Morte D’Arthur, would she be given a different fate? This draws a distinct line between fiction and reality, showing that while religious values and prophecies were celebrated and rewarded in myths like the Morte D’Arthur, they may scare or intimidate others in the real world.
I’ve decided to compare King Arthur from Le Morte D’Arthur to Thor from the Norse mythology tales. I’ve actually heard theories about the myths of King Arthur drawing inspiration from some aspects of the Norse mythology tales which lead me to investigate the similarities and the differences between the two.
The first thing that I noticed right off the bat is that both characters are considered to be the main protagonist in their stories. They are both strong, bold warriors in a way. Another similarity I noticed between the two is their weapons. In both stories, their weapons are very important symbols and seem to only be used by the characters they belong to. What I mean is that King Arthur’s sword (Excalibur) can only be lifted by him as since he was the only one who could remove it from stone which lead to him being the King of England and vice versa with Thor’s Hammer when the trickster, Loki had given it to him in order to save his life and not be killed by Thor himself.
Some of the differences I had noticed between the two is that Thor is known to be a god who has all of these magical powers that a human possibly couldn’t have. However, we aren’t quite sure exactly if King Arthur is a god or not. We do know that he was conceived from the help of the wizard Merlin and that he was a Celtic king, who defended the post-Roman England against the Saxon invaders but we aren’t exactly sure what he is. The difference I recognize in this is that King Arthur surely could have been a real person due to his realistic features unlike Thor to some degree.
From the reading, I did not only find similarities and differences between the two, but I feel as though I had revealed something about them. Something I found interesting is that even though they were both protagonists in their stories and considered “good guys” they could have actually been enemies if they ever crossed paths. I came to identify that the historic King Arthur spent his life fighting back the Saxon horde that were the forerunners of the Vikings and It was very common that those Saxons could have possible worshipped Thor meaning that there’s a good chance that Thor and Arthur and Thor could well have been enemies. (It’s just a theory, but I thought it would be interesting.)
For this blog post, I have decided to investigate the similarities and differences between a character from Morte D’Arthur, Sir Gawain, and a character from The Song of Roland, Roland. Both stories take place in a time period where a very powerful king ruled supreme over his kingdom. Feudalism is very popular in this time period and knights are seen as very important individuals. Both Sir Gawain and Roland were great fighters whom everyone from their respective civilizations respected deeply. The much more important and interesting similarities come later in their stories, though, when both of the characters are about to meet their demise.
Sir Gawain dies an honorable death in a battle, because of a reopened wound to his head. This wound came from the multiple challenges Sir Gawain made to another one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot would defeat him every time, but never killed him, and this caused the wound to Sir Gawain’s head which eventually caused his death. Roland’s death, although quite different, has distinct similarities to Sir Gawain’s. Roland’s death comes along when he finds himself leading the rear guard of his Uncle, Charlemagne’s, army. Roland and his army fall under attack from the Pagans, and they find they are greatly outnumbered. One of Roland’s friends, Olivier, recommends that Roland should blow his Oliphant to call for help from the rest of Charlemagne’s army, but Roland refuses to do so, thinking that they could handle the Pagans themselves. He was very wrong, and finds himself blowing the Oliphant anyway, after his rear guard is completely destroyed. Roland suffers from blowing his Oliphant and dies.
The main similarity between the two men is that both of their deaths were completely avoidable, but were brought about because of their ignorance and blind pride. If the two men were not so proud and accepted defeat or calling for help, they probably would have survived the ordeals that caused them to die. They believed that accepting defeat in a challenge and calling for help was a sign of weakness, and this is the reason why they ended up dying. This is interesting because it says a lot about the time period and the societies that both of these men were living in. Both societies greatly valued the ideals of chivalry and knighthood, and being a “real man” was everything to a knight. It was so important to them to be as “manly” as possible, that it was worth causing their own death. Even death was something that could be seen as manly, if it was an honorable death in battle. These similarities and differences illustrate how similar the two societies were, and how important it was to be “a man” in their societies.
The two heroes I am going to shine light upon today are King Arthur and Sir Lancelot of Morte D’Arthur. For starters, both of these men are regarded highly and deemed “noble”; Arthur a “noble” king and Lancelot a “noble” knight. Along with this, they are both extremely loyal to one another and oh yeah, love the same woman, Gwenyvere. In regards to Gwenyvere, both Arthur and Lancelot are too ashamed to face the truth that Gwenyvere is having an affair with Lancelot, so both men try to brush it aside rather than facing it head on. With all those similarities, there are some differences. I believe the main difference is that Arthur is more of a leader than a fighter and Lancelot is the complete opposite. Since Lancelot is the head knight and all, he sort of HAS to be a good fighter, which he is. Arthur is deemed a good enough fighter, but he is much better off as solely a king, especially since he is an excellent feudal lord. I believe these two characters are important in seeing how things were back in those times and how two men can be so different, yet so similar.
Two characters that can be comparable to each other are Roland from The Song of Roland and King Arthur from La Morte D’Arthur. Firstly, both characters are distinguished by their signature swords: King Arthur’s sword Excalibur and Roland’s sword Durandal. Roland, however, is also distinguishable by his summoning horn, the Oliphant. Aside from weapons, both characters are generally seen as men of high esteem and status, with Arthur’s status of being an actual King being slightly higher in position with regards to Roland’s status of being the nephew and lead Paladin to the Frankish king Charlemagne. One key difference between the two figures is their actual historical status. Roland has been historically confirmed to have actually lived while Arthur’s status of being an actual living person still remains under great debate since he is believed to have been created by British storyteller Geoffrey of Monmouth. The main big difference between the two characters is their particular hubris. Arthur on one hand is depicted as being too passive to confront his head knight, Lancelot, about Lancelot’s affair with Arthur’s wife, Gwenyvere. Roland, unlike Arthur, is passive in terms of personal pride. He does not want to call his Uncle for help by blowing the horn since he believes he can fight off the Muslim forces by himself, despite being greatly outnumbered. Eventually, Roland realizes his problem and confronts it, unlike Arthur. Roland blows the Oliphant, but it costs him his life. One man lived on to reign as a king, another died trying to think like one.
King Arthur, from Morte D’Arthur, and Thor, from Norse mythology, are both figures who are highly regarded by the people of their time and are often the protagonists in their stories and the retellings of them. King Arthur and Thor were both great warrior figures whose legends focus on their actions in battle. King Arthur and Thor were both very honorable.
King Arthur marched his armies into battle against his favorite knight, Lancelot, and his son, Modred, because they disrespected him. Furthermore, they had both tried to take what he thought belonged to him, his wife Gwynevere. He, also, fought against Modred because he tried to seize Arthur’s kingdom while he was away.
Likewise, Thor, had fought the frost giants because they had stolen his hammer, Mjollnir. This act of disrespect caused him to deceive them and, later, kill all of them because they had stolen what belonged to him.
King Arthur’s weapon, Excalibur, played a central role in his legend, as well. When he lay dying, Arthur sent one of his men to throw the sword into the sea. Upon doing so, women in cloaks took Arthur away as he died and held a small funeral service for him.
Thor and Arthur were both violent, but still honorable. Thor, in one of his adventures, was going to kill a family for going behind his back and disobeying his orders but spared them when he “saw their terror.” Arthur, similarly, never wanted to go into battle with Lancelot, but did so anyway because his nephew advised him to do so.
However, they are not mirror images of each other. Arthur cared so deeply about those he was close to, in a way that could have impeded his judgment. He cared so deeply for Gwynevere that he waged war not once, but twice. After his nephew died before his eyes, his only goal thereafter was to defeat Modred. This may have contributed to him going against the advice of his advisors. Thor, however, showed little personal connection to anyone else in his legends.
Additionally, Thor was much more violent than Arthur. In every tale that he is in, he becomes angry and tries to kill whomever is opposing him. Arthur, rather, was open to peace in his legends.
The comparison of these two figures suggest the similarities and differences of their corresponding cultures. Norse culture, like Thor, put great importance on respect and on violence. Although peace was preferable, they were quick to fight and to settle things with their hands. Early British culture put great importance on possession, respect and loyalty. These values, very simply, show the characteristics of societies for which we only know about through the stories they tell.
King Arthur and Thor are two very comparable characters. Firstly, Both of these mythological hero’s had a weapon that only they can use. King Arthur was the only one who can pull the sword from the stone until he later begins to use Excallibur and Thor has his hammer, Mjolnir. Both Thor and Arthur are these amazingly strong, brave, and fantastic men who are the great heroes that they are made out to be in their respective myths. Thor and Arthur are both very noble and honorable characters in their respective myths as well, but Thor is much more big headed and full of himself than Arthur is. Also while Arthur and Thor are both very noble and famous, Thor is not an actual king, while of course Arthur is one of the most famous Kings in all of history. Thor is a god, so he could even be seen as above the Kings, while Arthur is the greatest king and in many ways, he could be seen as a god, but this is not a definite. Arthur and Thor both also went on to inspire the heroes of the future in many ways. These amazing heroes have been and will continue to be remembered throughout history.
Chivalry is a common theme in both Song of Roland and Le More D’Arthur. The characters Roland and Sir Lancelot are both very chivalrous knights and are both admired by many, including high royalty. These two stories demonstrate the importance of bravery and honor in society at the time they were written.
In Song of Roland, Roland is Charlemagne’s nephew and is very highly regarded by his fellow knights. When he is attacked by the men Ganelon sends out for him, he is clearly outnumbered, but refuses to call out for help. Roland believed that God would help him prevail and if he were to call out for help, he would be dishonoring his country He fought not only himself and his own reputation, but more importantly, for his men and God. When Roland dies in this battle, he becomes a martyr and is even more respected after his passing.
Sir Lancelot is also a celebrated knight and makes a decision that heavily reflects on his character. When Sir Lancelot is given the option to fight King Arthur, he instead makes the noble decision to send a messenger to propose peace. Much like Roland, when he was presented with a choice, rather than acting on the easiest option, he does whatever is as chivalrous and noble as possible. Lancelot knew how strong he was, but he also knew that asking for peace is better than starting a fight.
Song of Roland and Le More D’Arthur both highlight the ideas and values of a knight and what it means to be an outstanding knight. Although they can sometimes be prideful, their main goal is always to protect and fight for God, their king, and each other. Both stories provide examples of doing so and show that even if you are doing what is most honorable, the consequences might not always be deserving.
The two characters I will investigate in my blog post would be King Arthur in Morte D’Arthur and Thor from the Norse myths.
In Morte D’Arthur, King Arthur was destined to pull out a sword from a stone to prove to everyone that he is worthy to be king. He eventually becomes on of the kingdom’s youngest kind who proves himself to be one of the finest military leader. Arthur values loyalty as the most respectful virtues of all. He would grant mercy to any of his knights if they were to swear allegiance to him.
Thor on the other hand proves to be the opposite of that of King Arthur. He is not a mortal but is a god. He goes into battle fighting giants and use his powerful hammer to slays them. He is rather arrogant and temperament and would often punish anyone that goes against him. He does not value loyalty just like King Arthur and his knights. Thor would often depend on his hammer to protect him which makes it his weakness.
However, both characters have a common factor which is that they both can die in battle. Although Thor is a god, he can die just like any mortal unlike like those of the Greeks gods. The two make great leaders to lead their followers into battle. They are both powerful and brave. Also, they were both honorable men. King Arthur is well respected among his knights and Thor is a known to be a courageous warrior that humans aspired to be. They are both characters that served a purpose in each of their context.
Both sir Launcelot and Joan of Arc contain the qualities of a good leader. Sir Launcelot, the noble knight, carry the qualities of a great leader. He was not a disliked or cowardly leader. As seen when Sir Lucas the butler says, “Alas! King Arthur would readily be reconciled to Sir Launcelot, but Sir Gawain forbids it; and it is a shame, because Sir Launcelot is certainly the greatest knight living,” (Sir Thomas Malory 31) as the noblewoman was delivering the message from Sir Launcelot to King Arthur. This respectability and good reputation says a lot about Sir Launcelot, because reputations seemed to be an important part of the society that Le Morten Arthur takes place in. Speaking of important leaders, Joan of Arc was and still is one of the most influential women in history. Joan of Arc also embodies the excellence of a good leader. An article about Joan of Arc’s leadership says, “Joan of Arc changed the fortunes of King Charles VII. By the end of his reign, he had regained every English possession in France except for Calais and the Channel Islands” Joan of Arc’s influence on the war was significance and ultimately led to the success of King Arthur.
Although, both Sir Launcelot and Joan of Arc embodied the qualities of a superb leader, they also had their differences in the style of their leading. In Le Morte Arthur, Sir Launcelot pushed for peace and surrender during the war because the troops were facing depredation. Although, King Arthur did not take Sir Launcelot’s request for peace, it is still what Sir Launcelot wanted. On the other hand, Joan of Arc was a very determined leader and she pushed her troops. An article about Joan of Arc’s life and leadership says, “The Royal government attempted to negotiate a truce which it hoped would lead to a permanent peace. This policy contradicted Joan of Arc’s desire to press forward with further military campaign” Despite the wish for peace from everyone, Joan of Arc desired to keep pushing and keep fighting.
Sir Launcelot and Joan of Arc contained the qualities of a good leader, but their styles of leadership differed.
The two characters that I chose to compare were Thor from Norse mythology and King Arthur from Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. One main similarity between the two included their weapons. King Arthur’s weapon, the Excalibur, was a very powerful and magical sword that was meant and intended for his use only. Thors weapon was also created just for him and had magical powers just like King Arthur’s. These powerful weapons changed these characters lives and helped both of them while in battle. Another thing these two share in common include their bravery and courage, which was prevalent throughout their battles, and they both fight for what they believe in. An obvious difference is that Thor is a God and Arthur is not, but you can also say that these two are similar in the way that they have power and are higher up. Another difference is Thor will kill people when it’s not exactly necessary while King Arthur has more of a reason for why he kills people. Thor is shown as more unpredictable and irrational.
Overall, these similarities and differences show that in the end they want to protect their people and themselves. They are trying to be the best leaders they can be and all while being brave and honorable. It also shows that even though these two powerful people seem to have everything down, they don’t. They will act on emotions and sometimes it will end up badly. In the end Thor and King Arthur are very honorable leaders who share their similarities and differences and can teach us something about them.
King Arthur form Le More D’Arthur and Thor from the Norse mythology tales are two alike characters that contradict each other as well. These two characters were seen as the leading characters in their stories as well as respected and admired by many people. Both of these characters are portrayed as strong, bold fighters. In fact, another similarity would be the weapons used in both stories. King Arthur’s sword can only be lifted by him and vice versa with Thor’s hammer when Loki gave it to him to save his life. However, a main difference is that it’s perfectly clear Thor is a god with superhuman powers, whereas its unclear if King Arthur is even considered a god or not.
All in all, bringing the two texts together, glory seems to be an evident idea in both texts and that fighting in war is considered very honorable to people in that time as it still is today. In brief, Norse culture put attention on respect and violence where people were very quick to fight and settled their problems with their hands rather their words. On the other hand, British culture put more attention on loyalty. However, both try and show a more clear idea on how the culture is represented through storytelling.
Many things can be learned from analyzing characters from both Morte D’Arthur and The Song of Roland. A lot of parallels can be drawn between characters of the stories, and the main characters tend to have a few very similar traits. I think that Gawain from Morte D’Arthur is most comparable with Roland from The Song of Roland. Both of these characters are knights of great ability. They are quite strong and are seen as leaders, suffering from similar unfortunate endings as well. Roland is loved by many, and is brave in battle. He makes many friends because of his status as well as his generosity. This aids him greatly in battle, and helps him to achieve many victories. Unfortunately, he has a major flaw. He decides to stay and fight a battle which is almost certain to lose. In this last battle, Roland is killed in an honorable way but he could have definitely avoided death if he would have blown the horn. As for Gawain, he is another very brave character. He battles outside of Launcelot’s kingdom for 6 months straight and then challenges Sir Launcelot himself. Launcelot fights him and decides to spare him, wounding him severely. Gawain recovers and goes to fight Launcelot again, only to be defeated with major wounds yet again. Gawain begins recovering to fight Launcelot once again, but has to go to a battle with his King, Arthur. This section of the story showed a lot about Gawain’s character, and that of the knights in general. The knights are extremely noble, to the point that Gawain would rather have died in battle with someone that have been spared by them. I see this as a downfall however, because in the end Gawain actually dies because a wound which he received from Launcelot is re-opened.
Both of these characters have extremely beliefs. The way they gained such respect(other than being born at the top) was by their nobility. Both Gawain and Rowland became as great as they did by fighting in battle with great pride. Both served those above them without question, and fought for a greater cause. This ends up being the demise of both of these men, what would be considered a tragic flaw.
I choose to discuss the similarities of Joan of Arc and Sir Lancelot in this blog post. Something I find interested when discussing these two is how they both had very similar morals, but went about them differently. Joan of Arc was a woman of god, who served under a male persona to the King of France. She served him notably as a commander, much like Sir Lancelot. Sir Lancelot was a very noble man, who was deemed as one of the greatest knights ever. He was a great leader, much like Joan, as shown by how King Arthur respected him and didn’t want to go into battle against him. Joan of Arc was also respected in a sense of what she was capable of. She was viewed under a curious lens, but she was believed to be a fabled virgin and was believed to have talked to saints. Her respect was also given on the battlefield, for leading men to victory, something completely outrageous for a woman to be doing in this time-period. They both were also very peaceful in a sense that they desired to have unity among the kingdoms, although Sir Lancelot wanted to achieve this with verbal peace and Joan went with a more aggressive military approach.
I have decided to compare King Arthur to Charlemagne. Both of these men are considered great by their people and rule over their nations proudly, devoutly, and in times of war. King Arthur is the leader of England and ends up warring with his own knight, Lancelot against France. Even though Arthur would rather take the peace that is offered to him, he is counselled against such actions by Sir Gawain in favor of fighting. Arthur actually weeps that he must fight a friend, yet he still does so despite him being a king who could, by all rights, simply order it otherwise. Charlemagne can be seen in similar straits, faced with the dilemma of further drawing out his war of conquest or returning home, to France, with a heavy tithe and Spain’s king converting to Christianity. It is Count Roland who speaks up and insists on starting a conflict that leads to further slaughter on both sides and Charlemagne does not go against him.j
These actions show that both men try to lead by example of their own legends and be just rulers. They tried their hardest to be fair and listen to their advisors leads the kings to make decisions that they would rather not yet still do. This shows that Arthur and Charlemagne both respect their allies and know the value of having an army that follows out of love rather than orders. The kings also show a common trait of placing peace above war, despite the odds looking to be to their advantage. Peace means the end of further bloodshed while war, for all its glories, is full of loss and both men from their respective legends recognize this and try to avoid it. Values such as respecting allies and peace over war are themes found within both stories containing the two kings each from vastly different time and circumstance, one a chivalrous knight, and the other a conquering emperor. Each being held in high esteem by their people shows beliefs that are linked across time and culture. These beliefs show what their authors, and by extension their widespread readers, hold as the standard for good, honorable men.
In this blog post I am going to compare King Arthur and Joan of Arc. While both characters in history appear to be vastly different, they exhibit similar occurrences in their rise to greatness. Both were great leaders during war times and were exonerated for their achievements; however, both did have two exceedingly different demises.
To begin with, the major differences can be stated as the following: sex, age, and leadership position. Arthur was a man, Joan an i pronounced female. Arthur was a young man, whereas Joan was still a girl. Finally, Arthur was eventually crowned king, but Joan was only an apointed war leader.
Next, the more interesting conclusion from the comparison of the two “heroes” is how similar their rise to power began. In the beginning, both Joan and Arthur were lower persons in the hierarchy and not seen as serious political prospects. This all changed when assistance from a heigh being or power aided them. For Arthur, it was the strength of pulling the stone out from the rock. For Joan, it was prophesies from God. Without these interferences neither Arthur or Joan would have amounted to the great power they later achieved. This further helps us examine both character’s devotion to their country/ cause and the humble attitude they evoked from their situations. Neither of the two characters were gallivanting around and boasting of their mighty religious knowledge or magical supernatural strength. Rather, both were quick to acknowledge the position they were given and were quick to take action for their country/ cause. Overall, while there were many differences in Joan and Arthur, they both had a similar rise to leadership/ popularity.
I will be comparing Sir Gawain to Thor. Both characters are characters driven by honor and a lust for battle. While their purposes may be different their means of achieving them are similar. Thor is known for his every lasting quest to battle the giants and any that would stand against him. Like Gawain this lust for battle would eventually be his downfall as his battle with the serpent would be his last. Gawain’s provocation of Lancelot and lust for battle with him is eventually what ended his life as well. Both characters, along with being violent, are extremely prideful men. Both calling it honor Thor, and Gawain hold their honor in highest regard. Their honor however is not like Lancelot or Arthurs. It instead revolves around their self-image and makes the reader question if these men are truly honor bond heroes or not. Two instances of this are firstly when Thor has his hammer stolen from him, and second when Gawain challenges Lancelot. When Thor’s hammer is stolen from him he goes in disguise as a woman to the giant who stole his hammer from him. His “honor” in jeopardy he later slaughters all the giants within proximity. Gawain twice bested after calling out Lancelot lays on the ground bloodied and persist to call him out and curse him. Arguably the honorable thing to do would be to accept his mercy gratefully Gawain kicks and shouts like a scorn child. This brings me to my final comparison, both Characters are very immature. Thor and Gawain act a lot like adolescent teenagers who care more about their self-image then their actual honor. While Thor and Gawain have many differences, this connects the two of them most strongly.
Two figures worth comparing and contrasting in our studies of mythology are Lancelot and Joan of Arc. Although at first glance they obviously have their differences (Lancelot being English, for example, while Joan of Arc fought against the English); however, they are both strong, warrior characters that have gained almost infinite popularity and have had their stories told for hundreds of years. They exert strength, bravery, and leadership, and are both trusted by the king to carry out his warrior needs.
Lancelot is a character in Arthurian text (arguably the most easily recognizable name besides Arthur) that is known for being at the round table and is entrusted by Arthur to follow through on many different journeys. He is often faced with challenges along the way, and he has gained popularity through his accomplishment of these tasks. While he is not seen as the oldest nor wisest, he is still a strong leader. Early on, prior to his name being revealed, Lancelot shows that he acts sometimes without making logic of a situation, or without thinking it through all the way (like when he sits in the cart for criminals). His progression, however, leads him as a highly revered knight of chivalry.
Comparatively, Joan of Arc also a character who has gained fame through her accomplishments as a warrior, as well as her strength and leadership. She also is known for her warrior skills as a member of the French army, which differs greatly from the challenges faced on a journey as a round table knight. She is also not a character viewed as the oldest or holding most authority; however, she too is trusted by that figure. One notable difference between Lancelot and Joan of Arc is how their legacy lives on: with Lancelot, his life is cherished through tales, and his deeds in the land of the living give him popularity. On the other hand, while Joan became famous through her actions as a soldier, her legacy is pushed by her death at the hands of the English, who burned her alive. Her sacrifice leaves her a martyr, and her saintliness is often what she is known best for.
Both Lancelot and Joan of Arc play major roles in empowering those who hear their tales. Lancelot is a chivalrous warrior, and is such a character built upon winning that it drives others to hold the same chivalry. Joan not only empowered French troops and French nationalism after her death, but she also is an empowering figure in the Roman Catholic Church. With the youth of both characters, as well as their choices sometimes being mistakes or leading to their demise, it’s easier to relate (or want to relate) to them, making them characters that will always an active and living legacy.