LANCELOT is a late-comer in the court of Arthur. His adventdures did not begin like Perceval's in pre-Christian times, nor did he live like Tristan in the days when heroes fought with sea-monsters. He has no sun-hero attributes of waxing and waning strength, like his last enemy, Gawain. From the outset, albeit brought up by a fairy, he was a courteous young squire of the twelfth century, addicted to hearing mass, and trained in the subtlest etiquette of chivalry. His business in life was to become knight of the Table Round and lover of Guenevere.
This fact makes him less interesting than other characters, to people for whom the interest of a mediæval conception depends on the depth to which its roots had struck. On the other hand, to the not inconsiderable number who value the consummate expression of the ideal of a great period, he presents a fascinating study. It is suggestive to trace the changes through which passed this best-loved figure in romance. He and Tristan are subjected to contrary processes. Tristan begins as a noble and vital character, he ends as a far from admirable martinet. Lancelot, on the other hand, grows more and more appealing, from the twelfth
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Publication information: Book title: Le Morte Darthur of Sir Thomas Malory & Its Sources. Contributors: Vida D. Scudder - Author. Publisher: E.P. Dutton. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1917. Page number: 119.
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