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First Encounter Between Lancelot & Guenivere In “The Legend Of King Arthur”

Table of Contents

This is an introduction.


Works cited:

This is an introduction.

Arthurian Legend is a collection of stories in many languages that recount the adventures of King Arthur of Britain, his Kingdom, and his circle of knights. The legend has been shared over many centuries. It is still very popular today and has been adapted into numerous films. Given the wide variety of films available to tell the Legend of King Arthur’s story, there will be many different versions. It is imperative to analyze the different depictions and interpretations of medieval tales due to the fact that films are more influential than books. The Excalibur film’s first scene between Lancelots Guenivere and Guenivere is a classic example of the archetypical “knight with shining armor” that John Boorman portrays. He is bound by the King’s duty, but in Jerry Zuckers 1995 First Knight, Lancelot is a modern, charmed “adventure-seeker” who has no loyalty to anyone.

Lancelot meets Guinevere at Excalibur for the first time and is welcomed enthusiastically by an acquaintance. “Here’s Arthur’s greatest knight… He’s here to escort your to the King”, an acquaintance exclaims animatedly (Boorman). Guinevere is excited to learn of Lancelot’s arrival and rushes in her direction. It is obvious that she is exaggerated, as it can be seen on her face. Lancelot, however, seems disinterested. He doesn’t even acknowledge her presence, just looks at her. The entire scene is silent. He leaves. He is now more focused on his duty of transporting Guenivere to King. Lancelot is most notable for his full regalia. He is the “knight of shining armor”. Guinevere might be attracted to his appearance. Me

The following scene shows Guenivere and Lancelot riding side-by side. Women giggle at Lancelot’s mannerisms and appearance. He is the “knight wearing shining armor”, which “every woman” fantasizes about. Guenivere is very interested in Sir. Lancelot’s life. She questions Lancelot about his feelings for the women who are staring at her. However, Lancelot’s response is quite disappointing. Lancelot’s words are so disappointing that she gives up, feeling defeated. Lancelot insists that he has “sworn to this quest.” He says, “I’ll love you forever.” I will be my queen, and you will be my wife, and I will cherish you while you are alive.” (Boorman). He has sworn to the cause of honor and is an honorable. This is similar to The Lancelot-Grail Reader: Selections From the Medieval Arthurian Style.

Guenivere, Lancelot and their companions are ambushed by a caravan that Guenivere was traveling with. Guenivere escapes, but her attackers catch up to her and she hides in a thicket. Lancelot grabs Guienivere from the side and covers her mouth. This prevents her making any noises that could attract attention. There is eventually a fight. Lancelot defeats the raiding party members and saves Guenivere.

Guenivere is struck by his charm and skills. Lancelot is a normal citizen in the forest going about his business when he meets the caravan and raiders. He doesn’t wear armor and seems not to be bound by any duty. He is a wanderer. He is also an adventurer. And he is a showman. In one scene (Zucker), he says, “As sure the sun will set tomorrow, someplace, there is a better man than me.”

Lancelot is modernized in The First Knight. The movie was released a decade after Excalibur. It is evident that Lancelot’s behavior and character are vastly different in the two movies. Excalibur has him as a Knight in Shining Armour. He is focused on his duties, and is not open to distractions. In contrast, Lancelot in the First Knight is a wanderer without any honor. Lancelot of Excalibur swears loyalty to his King. He puts others before himself. Lancelot in First Knight was self-centered and motivated by his own interests until he met Guinevere. Guenivere (Zucker) admits that he doesn’t know much about honor.

DiscussionAdaptations of historical legends, in the form of films, are bound to present slightly or immensely varying accounts of the events, especially if they are released in different eras, and inevitably, if they are directed by different persons, and target varying audiences. Because of many factors, such movies are not accurately depicting events.

Beatie says that Excalibur tried to tell the whole Arthurian story, but film couldn’t capture every detail. Grindley also claims that both First Knight and Excalibur are extremely inaccurate, despite their differences. Grindley claims that accuracy in medieval films cannot be achieved. Grindley adds that it is impossible for people to accurately judge films like medieval ones.

Excalibur’s Lancelot, the shining-armored knight, is the epitome of Excalibur. He is honorable. He swears loyalty to the King as illustrated in The Lancelot-Grail Reader. In First Knight, however, he is a wanderer who has no loyalty to any particular ideal or person. Films are more capable of capturing as much detail than texts and allow for greater creativity. Films can’t be exact. Films are affected by many factors, including the text they were drawn from, directors’ whims, and audiences’ expectations. Also, medieval movies are historical accounts that may not please medievalists or enthusiasts in accuracy. However, many people in the audience won’t be able to discern any deviations.

Works cited:

Beatie, Bruce A. “Arthurian Films And Arthurian Texts”: Problems Of Reception, Comprehension. Arthurian Interpretations (1988).: 65-78. Print.

Excalibur. Dir. John Boorman is the original creator of the work. Warner Bros. Pictures released the film in 1981. First Knight is a movie about a knight’s journey to win the heart of a princess. Dir. Jerry Zucker. Perf. Richard Gere and Sean Connery with Julia Ormond

Columbia Pictures released the movie in 1995. Film.Grindley by Carl James. “Arms and the Man. Curious Inaccuracy: Medieval Arms and Armor. Contemporary Film.”

Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Magazine of Film and Television Studies 36.1 (2006), 14-19.

Print.Williams, David. In The Yearbook of English Studies (1990), an article on Medieval Movies was published, discussing the topic in detail over 32 pages. Print.


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