In The Coming of Arthur, the people of Cameliard are trying to decide whether Arthur is truly the heir to the throne. Though Arthur is ultimately accepted as the rightful king, there are many who seem to doubt his background. Lancelot, however, demonstrates an undying faith in Arthur from the very outset:
So like a painted battle the war stood
Silenced, the living quiet as the dead,
And in the heart of Arthur joy was lord.
He laugh'd upon his warrior whom he loved
And honor'd most. "Thou dost not doubt me King,
So well thine arm hath wrought for me today."
"Sir and my liege," he cried, "the fire of God
Descends upon thee in the battle-field.
I know thee for my King!" Whereat the two,
For each had warded either in the fight,
Sware on the field of death a deathless love.
And Arthur said, "Man's world is God in man;
Let chance what will, I trust thee to the death." (lines 121-134)
1. What is the meaning of "Man's world is God in man; Let chance what will, I trust thee to death?" Does the precept imply faith in God, faith in man, or both?
2. Do you think the relationship between Arthur and Lancelot is reminiscent of another relationship that we have observed in one of the other books we have read? Which relationship? Do the similarities remain constant throughout the rest of the Idylls? What are the differences?
Last modified 9 April 2003