The Once and Future King

by: T. H. White

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Lancelot is a complex character, torn between cruelty and compassion. Discuss how such conflicts affect Lancelot’s relationships with Guenever, Arthur, God, and chivalry.

2. The Wart has numerous adventures when Merlyn changes him into the form of animals, but only five of them are described in detail: his transformations into a perch, a merlin, a badger, an ant, and a goose. Briefly discuss the relevance each of these episodes has to the idea of might versus right and the development of Arthur’s thoughts about civilization and government.

3. White wrote The Once and Future King in the form of numerous short, episodic chapters. Discuss the effect of this format on the pacing, plot, and character development of the novel.

4. The novel generally presents an antiwar message, but nevertheless draws a great deal of dramatic power from the conflict inherent in warfare. Is the novel’s attitude toward war consistent, or does White contradict himself by glorifying battles?