Lancelot Essay, Research Paper

T H White in his Midevil novel, The Once and Future King, written in 1965

portrays in Book III the development of the character of Lancelot, a man who reaches

many goals through the many trials and tribulations of a growing man in the midevil times.

In Book III Lancelot goes through the troubles and predicaments to become a real man

and to live up to the code of chivalry. Set in the land of Camelot, the novel expresses the

way that purity can be taken away without one knowing because of the actons he/she

takes. Lancelot learns that he should of kept his purity by the means of Elaine, Guenevere,

and the code of chilvary. In Once and Future King, T H White explains how loss of purity

can result in unwanted hatred.

Lancelot learns about keeping his purity through the means of Elaine. For example,

a messenger comes and tells Lancelot that Guenevere is waiting for him at her castle. They

get him drunk and take him to a dark room where really it’s not Guenevere it’s really

Elaine playing a trick. She knew that Lancelot did not love her, but yet she still played a

trick on him. While Lancelot was under the influence of alcohol, he loses his virginity to

Elaine when he thought it was really Guenevere. According to the code of chivalry, one

was supposed to save their virginity until they were married and knew that they were with

the one woman that they loved. Even though Elaine knew that Lancelot had expectations

to live up to, all she really cared about was herself. In result Elaine became pregnant and

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Lancelot became very irate. Knowing that he should have not even of gotten drunk in the

first place, he knew that he had been tricked into having sex with Elaine instead of

Guenevere. Lancelot should have known not to even go to the castle in the first place. He

knew he had a reputation to uphold. As you can tell Elaine played a major role in the way

that Lancelot grew up into a man. She was the main reason he lost his purity. All because

of the little games she liked to play.

Guenevere also played a major role in the loss of Lancelot’s purity. Guenevere

was the woman that Lancelot had loved all his life. He would have done anything for her.

The reason he got Elaine pregnant is because he thought that it was Guenevere that called

for him. He thought that finally Guenevere had found the reason the Lancelot loved her so

much and felt the same about him. If Guenevere would have just loved Lancelot the way

that he loved her, he would of lost his virginity to the right person instead of being tricked

by Elaine. Furthermore, if Guenevere would have realized how much that Lancelot loved

her and loved him back just the same, Lancelot would have been able to carry on the right

way with the code of chivalry was supposed to be. In conclusion, if Guenevere would

have seen the light and just loved Lancelot the way he loved her, everything would have

been flawless.

Finally the code of chivalry played the most important role in the loss of

Lancelot’s purity. The code of chivalry was the reason that Lancelot had the expectations

thrown on to him. If there wasn’t a code of chivalry, it would have been alright for

Lancelot to do whatever one pleases. The code of chivalry said that a knight had to save

himself for the one woman he would marry and he had to know that he loved her before

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giving that one his virginity. Excluding the fact that he was tricked and was under the

influence, Lancelot would have probably stayed pure until he found the right one for him.

The code of chivalry was an excellent idea to keep one pure because the knights knew that

if they did not follow the way they were supposed to they would not be the “perfect”

knight. Lancelot had an idea set in his mind that everything he did had to be perfect. Since

he lost is virginity to the one he did not love, that was a flaw that made him an

imperfectionist. That which made him think down on himself. In conclusion, the code of

chivalry was the reason that Lancelot thought of himself un-pure after his affair with


In conclusion, T H White’s portrayal of Lancelot showed how a perfectionist can

be when they think that everything they do has to be perfect. Thus making Lancelot a

perfectionist showed how people in the 1900’s think in comparison to the people of the

mid-evil times. The Once and Future King sucessfully portrays the ideals of a perfectionist

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