A literary analysis of excalibur by john boorman

Historicity of King Arthur The site of Arthur's purported grave at Glastonbury Abbey in The historical basis for the King Arthur legend has long been debated by scholars. One school of thought, citing entries in the Historia Brittonum History of the Britons and Annales Cambriae Welsh Annalssees Arthur as a genuine historical figure, a Romano-British leader who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons some time in the late 5th to early 6th century.

A literary analysis of excalibur by john boorman

Legend[ edit ] There are two main traditions of the Tristan legend. Later traditions come from the Prose Tristan c.

The story and character of Tristan vary from poet to poet. Even the spelling of his name varies a great deal, although "Tristan" is the most popular spelling.

Most versions of the Tristan story follow the same general outline. Along the way, they ingest a love potion which causes the pair to fall madly in love. In the courtly version, the potion's effects last a lifetime, but, in the common versions, the potion's effects wane after three years.

In some versions, they ingest the potion accidentally; in others, the potion's maker instructs Iseult to share it with Mark, but she deliberately gives it to Tristan instead.

Although Iseult marries Mark, she and Tristan are forced by the potion to seek one another, as lovers. While the typical noble Arthurian character would be shamed by such an act, the love potion that controls them frees Tristan and Iseult from responsibility.

Tristan honours, respects, and loves King Mark as his mentor and adopted father; Iseult is grateful that Mark is kind to her; and Mark loves Tristan as his son and Iseult as a wife. But every night, each has horrible dreams about the future.

Tristan's uncle eventually learns of the affair and seeks to entrap his nephew and his bride. Also present is the endangerment of a fragile kingdom, the cessation of war between Ireland and Cornwall Dumnonia.

Mark acquires what seems proof of their guilt and resolves to punish them: Tristan by hanging and Iseult by burning at the stake, later lodging her in a leper colony. Tristan escapes on his way to the gallows.

He makes a miraculous leap from a chapel and rescues Iseult. The lovers escape into the forest of Morrois and take shelter there until discovered by Mark.

They make peace with Mark after Tristan's agreement to return Iseult of Ireland to Mark and leave the country. Tristan then travels to Brittanywhere he marries for her name and her beauty Iseult of the White Hands, daughter of Hoel of Brittany and sister of Kahedin. A illustration by N.

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The poetic versions of the Tristan legend offer a very different account of the hero's death. According to Thomas' version, Tristan was wounded by a poison lance while attempting to rescue a young woman from six knights. Tristan sends his friend Kahedin to find Iseult of Ireland, the only person who can heal him.

Tristan tells Kahedin to sail back with white sails if he is bringing Iseult, and black sails if he is not. Iseult agrees to return to Tristan with Kahedin, but Tristan's jealous wife, Iseult of the White Hands, lies to Tristan about the colour of the sails.

A literary analysis of excalibur by john boorman

Tristan dies of grief, thinking that Iseult has betrayed him, and Iseult dies swooning over his corpse. Several versions of the Prose Tristan include the traditional account of Tristan's death found in the poetic versions.

In French sources, such as those carefully picked over and then given in English by the well-sourced and best-selling Belloc translation ofit is stated that a thick bramble briar grows out of Tristan's grave, growing so much that it forms a bower and roots itself into Iseult's grave.

It goes on that King Mark tries to have the branches cut three separate times, and each time the branches grow back and intertwine.

This behaviour of briars would have been very familiar to medieval people who worked on the land. Later tellings sweeten this aspect of the story, by having Tristan's grave grow a briar, but Iseult's grave grow a rose tree, which then intertwine with each other.

Further tellings refine this aspect even more, with the two plants being said to have been hazel and honeysuckle. A few later stories even record that the lovers had a number of children. In some stories they produced a son and a daughter they named after themselves; these children survived their parents and had adventures of their own.

In the romance Ysaie the Sad, the eponymous hero is the son of Tristan and Iseult; he becomes involved with the fairy king Oberon and marries a girl named Martha, who bears him a son named Mark.

Origins of the legend[ edit ] Persian and Western[ edit ] There are many theories present about the origins of Tristanian legend, but historians disagree over which is the most accurate. There are references to March ap Meichion "Mark" and Trystan in the Welsh Triadsin some of the gnomic poetryMabinogion stories and in the 11th-century hagiography of Illtud.

A character called Drystan appears as one of King Arthur 's advisers at the end of The Dream of Rhonabwyan early 13th-century tale in the Welsh prose collection known as the Mabinogion, and Iseult is listed along with other great men and women of Arthur's court in another, much earlier Mabinogion tale, Culhwch and Olwen.

At the betrothal ceremony, however, she falls in love with Diarmuid, one of Fionn's most trusted warriors. The fugitive lovers are then pursued all over Ireland by the Fianna. His young wife, Credd, drugs all present, and then convinces Cano to be her lover.King Arthur was a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence is debated and disputed by modern historians.

Overview of the myth:

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A somewhat tragic figure, Arthur is the rightful heir to the throne in most versions of the mythos, who brings order to the land by defeating his rivals and other threats — and then tries his best to be a good ruler, assembling the Knights of the Round Table to serve as paragons of chivalry.

His rule is ultimately undone by the plots and shortcomings of his own followers and family. Tristan and Iseult is an influential romance story, retold in numerous sources with as many variations since the 12th century. The story is a tragedy about the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan (Tristram) and the Irish princess Iseult (Isolde, Yseult, etc.).

The narrative predates and most likely influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, and has had a.

Origins and development:

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Tristan and Iseult - Wikipedia