The Role Of Queen Guinevere In King Arthur And His Knights

1115 words - 4 pages

She is the most perdurable female figure in King Arthur and his Knights. Without her the suspense and the plot flow could not have been achieved. Her influence has enabled her to penetrate into men’s world a trait that distinguishes her from the rest of the women. Knights are referred to as the queen’s knights. We could say the same of the ladies who accompany the queen and keep the knights in good company (pg.52) .Queen Guinevere, as the King’s wife, is acknowledged by males.
But despite her access to the Round Table, she has no legitimate power. She is a woman figure who can be discarded as desired. Her presence in the male dominated arena is a source of discord among them. She is resented as a threat to the bonds of men, an eventuality which will lead to the end of the Round Table. She is represented as a danger to the misogynist circle.
Malory gives Guinevere a maternal character, whose love is expected to be impartial to her children, and in this case to her knights. By being the king’s wife, Queen Guinevere acquires a political and a symbolic duty in the kingdom, but this status does not exempt her from male’s contempt towards the female gender. All her attempts to improve her status are watered down by male rivalry.
Queen Guinevere does not find pleasure in the male company. Love, the only benefit she could reap from men is given no room. Guinevere’s preference for Sir Lancelot creates animosity amongst the Knights of the Round Table. Her illegitimate affair is resented by Sir Modred as betrayal. The latter’s concealed jealousy towards Sir Lancelot turns into an open demonstration of loyalty to the King Arthur and eventually to unprecedented war.
Queen Guinevere is a source of trouble among the Knights of the Round Table. However, men like Lancelot are always prepared to defend her. Men joust to keep honour, but she has no room to defend or suffer the consequences of her actions. The debate on whether to sanction Queen Guinevere by death, or not, takes place between the Pope, King Arthur and Sir Lancelot through letters. Men who are the source of women’s suffering are the same ones to redeem them from their bondage.
Although she is in more social limelight and higher status than other women, she suffers the same humiliation as they do. She is stripped naked in front of her subjects. The homo-social bond among the Knights of the Round Table leaves no room for Guinevere. According to King Arthur, she is substitutable whereas the Knights are not. For the king, she is an emblem of superiority and power over the other knights.
Queen Guinevere is the only woman who does not fully conform to what is expected of her. She does not passively consent to Mordred’s intention to inherit her like an item. She makes use of the women’s persuasive power and feigns the desire to look good on their wedding day to pave her way out of Mordred’s captivity. She is the master of flirtation and she knows how to stroke the male ego.
All in all, Queen...

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