Marriage, Adultery and Inheritance in Malory's Morte Darthur
Marriage in the middle ages encompassed two crucial but sometimes conflicting dimensions: a private companionate relationship, and a public social institution, the means whereby heirs were produced and land, wealth, power and political rule were transferred. This new study examines the concept of marriage as seen in the Morte Darthur, moving beyond it to look at `adulterous' and other male/female relationships, and their impact on the world of the Round Table in general. Key points addressed are the compromise achieved in the `Tale of Sir Gareth' between natural, youthful passion and the gentry's pragmatic view of marriage; the problems of King Arthur's marriage in light of both political need and the difficulty of the queen's infertility and adultery; and the repercussions of Lancelot's adultery in the tragedies of two marriageable daughters, Elaine of Astolat and Elaine of Corbin. Finally, the author reveals and considers in detail (focusing on dynastic dysfunction in three generations of Pendragon men: Uther, Arthur and Mordred) the myth of benevolent paternity by which men, whether born legitimate of bastard, were united through the Round Table. KAREN CHEREWATUK is Professor of English at St Olaf College, Minnesota.
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adultery adventures Alliterative Morte Arthure Alysaundir Arthur's court Arthurian Ascolat audience bastard blood bride Caxton chastity child chivalric church Cote couple daughter dowry Edward Edward IV Elaine of Corbin Elaine's Elizabeth English fadir Fair Maid father fayre fifteenth-century filiation Galahad Gawain gentry grail grete Guenevere Guenevere's heir Henry hero husband Igraine illegitimacy illegitimate incest infertility inheritance John Paston King Arthur king's knight kynge lady Lamorak late medieval legitimate lord Lynette Lyonesse Lyonesse's male Malorian Malory's Morte Darthur Margery marriage married Merlin Mordred Mordred's Morgan le Fay Morgawse Mort Artu mother narrator nobility noble Paston paternity Pellynor Perlesvaus political queen Queen Guenevere quene relationship role romance Round Table royal scene sexual Sir Bors Sir Gareth sir Launcelot social sons status Tale of Sir throne thys Torre tournament Tristram uppon Uther Vinaver virginity vows Vulgate cycle wedding wife woll woman women wyff