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Lancelot's double-cousins Lionel and Bors , sons of King Bors of Gaul and Elaine of Benoic's sister Evaine, are first taken by a knight of Claudas and later spirited away to the Lady of the Lake to become Lancelot's junior companions.

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Initially known only as the nameless White Knight Blanc Chevalier , clad in silver steel on a white horse, [14] Lancelot arrives in Arthur's kingdom of Logres with the Lady of the Lake to be knighted by the king at her behest. In the Vulgate, the White Knight later takes the name of his grandfather, King Lancelot, upon discovering his identity. Almost immediately upon his arrival, Lancelot falls in love with Queen Guinevere, and one of his very first adventures is saving her from the abduction by Arthur's enemy Maleagant.

The exact timing and sequence of events varies from one source to another, and some details are only found in certain sources. For example, in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur , the adulterous relationship is postponed for several years, as Lancelot's rescue of the Queen from Meleagant during which, as Malory wrote, " Sir Launcelot wente to bedde with the Quene and toke no force of his hurte honed, but toke his plesaunce and hys lyknge untyll hit was the dawning of the day " after breaking through into her chamber [16] takes place following the Grail Quest.

Early on, Lancelot wins his own castle in Britain, known as Joyous Gard a former Dolorous Gard , where he learns his real name and heritage. His early knight-errant adventures from the Vulgate Cycle that have survived the transition to the Post-Vulgate, and were subsequently included in Malory's compilation, range from proving victorious in a tournament fighting on behalf of King Bagdemagus , slaying the mighty Turquine who had been holding several of Arthur's knights prisoner, to overcoming a damsel's betrayal to defend himself unarmed against Phelot.

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Eventually, with the help of King Arthur, Lancelot defeats Claudas and his allied Romans in the Vulgate and recovers his father's kingdom. However, he again decides to remain at Camelot with his cousins Bors and Lionel and his illegitimate half-brother Ector de Maris Hector. His great deeds in the adventures exclusive to the Vulgate Lancelot include slaying multiple dragons and having a decisive role in the war against the Saxons in Scotland when he again rescues Arthur and Gawain as he does on different occasions and forces the Saxon witch-princess to surrender.

Lancelot dedicates his deeds to his lady Guinevere, acting in her name as her knight. At one point, he goes mad when led to believe that Guinevere doubts his love, until he is found and healed by the Lady of the Lake. Lancelot, incognito as the Black Knight [18] on another occasion he disguises himself as the Red Knight as well [18] , also plays a decisive role in a war between Arthur and Galehaut Galahaut. Galahaut is Arthur's enemy and poised to become the victor, but he is taken by Lancelot's amazing battlefield performance and offers him a boon in return for the privilege of one night's company in the bivouac.

Lancelot accepts and uses his boon to demand that Galehaut surrender peacefully to Arthur.

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At first, Lancelot continues to serve Galehaut in his home country Sorelois, where Guinevere joins him in refuge after Lancelot saves her from the bewitched Arthur during the "False Guinevere" episode. In spite of this happy outcome, Galahaut is the one who convinces Guinevere that she may return Lancelot's affection, an action that at least partially will result in the fall of Camelot. In the Prose Tristan and its adaptations, including the account in the Post-Vulgate, Lancelot gives refuge to the fugitive lovers Tristan and Iseult as they flee from the evil King Mark of Cornwall.

Lancelot has become one of the most famous Knights of the Round Table even attested as the best knight in the world in Malory's episode of Sir Urry of Hungary and an object of desire by many ladies, beginning with the Lady of Malehaut when he is her captive already early on in the Vulgate Lancelot. Faithful to Queen Guinevere, he refuses the forceful advances of Queen Morgan le Fay , Arthur's enchantress sister constantly attempting to seduce Lancelot, whom she at once greatly loves and hates with the same intensity, and even kidnapping him on occasions, including once when she does it together with her coven of fellow magical queens including Sebile.

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On one of these occasions as told in the Prose Lancelot , Morgan agrees to let him go save Gawain if Lancelot will return to her immediately afterwards, and then sets him free on promise that he will not spend any time with neither Guinevere nor Galehaut for a year. This condition causes Lancelot to go half-mad, and Galehaut to fall sick out of longing for him and eventually to die of anguish after he receives false rumour of Lancelot's suicide. Another sorceress, Hellawes , wants him for herself so obsessively that, failing in having him either dead or alive in Malory's chapel perilous episode, she soon herself dies from sorrow.

Similarly, Elaine of Astolat Vulgate's Demoiselle d'Escalot , in modern times better known as " the Lady of Shalott " too dies of heartbreak due to her unrequited love of Lancelot. Elaine of Corbenic , daughter of the Fisher King , also falls in love with him, and she is more successful than the others. With the help of magic, Elaine tricks Lancelot into believing that she is Guinevere and he sleeps with her, and the ensuing pregnancy results in the birth of his son, Galahad. Broken by her reaction, Lancelot goes mad again and wanders the wilderness for years, being looked for by the remorseful Guinevere and the others.

Eventually, he arrives back at Corbenic where he is recognised by Elaine; Lancelot is shown the Holy Grail through a veil which cures his madness. Shortly after he recovers, he returns to Camelot after being found by Percival and Ector , who have been both sent to look for him by Guinevere.

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Upon his return to court, Lancelot takes part in the Grail Quest with Percival and Galahad, though he is only allowed a glimpse of the Grail itself because he is an adulterer and distracted by earthly honours that have come with his knightly prowess. It is instead his teenage son Galahad who ultimately achieves the Grail to drink from, along with Lancelot's cousin Bors and King Pellinore 's son Percival. Ultimately, Lancelot's affair with Guinevere is a destructive force, which might have been glorified in the Vulgate Lancelot and but becomes condemned by the time of the Vulgate Queste [21] Once revealed to Arthur by Morgan with Maleagant previously having been killed by Lancelot when he tried to prove it , it results in the death of three of Gawain's brothers Agravain , Gaheris and Gareth by Lancelot's hand during his violent rescue of Guinevere from being burned at the stake for her infidelity, a war waged against Lancelot by the vengeful Gawain and King Arthur in France, and Mordred 's betrayal of Arthur to seize the throne for himself.


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Gawain challenges Lancelot to a duel twice, each time resulting in Lancelot delaying because of Gawain's enchantment to grow stronger between morning and noon, then striking down Gawain but sparing his life. Upon hearing the news of Arthur's death by Mordred at Camlann in a letter from the dying Gawain, Lancelot returns to Dover and mourns the deaths of his comrades. In Britain, Lancelot's victorious war against the sons of Mordred and their Saxon allies provides him a partial vindication for his earlier role in the Vulgate story.

She blames all the destruction of the Round Table upon their adulterous relationship, which is the seed of all the dismay that followed. The following narrative is largely based on the Lancelot-Grail Vulgate prose cycle, telling the story of Lancelot and Guinevere in accordance to the courtly love conventions still popular in the early 13th-century France but soon afterwards directly condemned in the Post-Vulgate Cycle retelling that was a main source for Malory.

When the great knight Lancelot arrives from the continent, Guinevere is instantly smitten. Following his early rescue of her from Maleagant in Le Morte d'Arthur this episode only happens much later on and his admission into the Round Table, and with Galehaut 's assistance, she and Lancelot begin an escalating romantic affair that in the end will lead to Arthur's fall.

In the Vulgate version, the lovers spend their first night together just as the adulterous Arthur sleeps with the beautiful Saxon princess named Camille or Gamille an evil enchantress whom he later continues to love even after she betrays and imprisons him, though it was suggested that he was enchanted [27]. Arthur is also further unfaithful during the episode of the "False Guinevere" who had Arthur drink a love potion to betray Guinevere , her own twin half-sister born on the same day but from a different mother whom Arthur takes as his second wife in a very unpopular bigamous move, even refusing to obey the Pope's order for him not to do it, as Guinevere escapes to live with Lancelot in Galehaut's kingdom.

The French prose cyclical authors thus intended to justify Guinevere and Lancelot's adultery by blackening Arthur's reputation and thus making it acceptable and sympathetic for their medieval courtly French audience. Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur , however, portrays Arthur as absolutely faithful to Guinevere, even successfully resisting the forceful advances of the sorceress Annowre for her sake, expect as a victim of a spell in a variant of the "False Guinevere" case.

Years later, following the Grail Quest , Malory tells his readers that the pair started behaving carelessly in public, stating that "Launcelot began to resort unto the Queene Guinevere again and forget the promise and the perfection that he made in the Quest Revealed as a betrayer of his king and friend, Lancelot fights and escapes. Incited to defend honour, Arthur reluctantly sentences his wife to be burned at the stake. Knowing Lancelot and his family would try to stop the execution, the king sends many of his knights to defend the pyre, though Gawain refuses to participate.

Lancelot arrives with his kinsmen and followers and rescues the queen. Gawain's brothers Gaheris and Gareth are killed in the battle among others, including fellow Knights of the Round Aglovale , Segwarides and Tor , and originally also Gawain's third brother Agravain , sending Gawain into a rage so great that he pressures Arthur into a direct confrontation with Lancelot. Guinevere later returns to Arthur from Lancelot's castle and is forgiven Arthur starts to doubt that Guinevere ever betrayed him.

When Arthur goes after Lancelot to France, he leaves her in the care of Mordred, who plans to marry the queen himself and take Arthur's throne. While in some versions of the legend like the Alliterative Morte Arthure , which removed French romantic additions Guinevere assents to Mordred's proposal, in the tales of Lancelot she still hides in the Tower of London and later takes refuge in a nun convent at Almesbury in Tennyson 's more modern retelling. During the civil war, Guinevere is portrayed as a scapegoat for violence without developing her perspective or motivation. However, after Arthur's death, Guinevere retires to a convent in penitence for her infidelity.

Her contrition is sincere and permanent; Lancelot is unable to sway her to come away with him. Guinevere meets Lancelot one last time, refusing to kiss him, then returns to the convent where she spends the remainder of her life. Modern adaptations of Arthurian legend vary greatly in their depiction of Guinevere, largely because certain aspects of her story must be fleshed out by the modern author.

In spite of her iconic doomed romance with Lancelot, a number of modern reinterpretations portray her as being manipulated into her affair with Lancelot, with Arthur being her rightful true love. Others present her love for Lancelot as stemming from a relationship that existed prior to her arranged marriage to Arthur.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Guinevere disambiguation. Arthurian legend character.

Definition

Guinevere by Henry Justice Ford c. Further information: Lancelot. Lancelot and Guinevere by Herbert James Draper c. Studies in British Celtic Historical Phonology. Irish tarr, torrach; 8. Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. E G Quin et al. Works of Tennyson, Volume 5. Lancelot and Guinevere: Sterling. Bruce The Arthurian Name Dictionary. Morgan le Fay, Shapeshifter. The Arthurian Handbook: Second Edition. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, , ill.

Field Projects Dept. Science Dept. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Object Details. Object Number:.


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