Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

The Once and Future King

Book III: “The Ill-Made Knight,” Chapters 16–20

Summary Book III: “The Ill-Made Knight,” Chapters 16–20

Arthur’s goodness in these chapters comes under close scrutiny, and we begin to wonder if his ignorance can sometimes be harmful. This is the case in Chapter 16, when Arthur fails to talk to Lancelot about Lancelot’s affair with Guenever, avoiding the sort of honest confrontation that the issue so desperately needs. Arthur knows about the affair, but he is so dogmatic about the power of justice and goodwill that he remains purposefully blind to the issues that eventually tear his kingdom apart. But by abiding so rigidly to his principles, Arthur also violates his own laws. Just as Guenever and Lancelot are breaking the rules of honor, Arthur also cannot bear to follow the demands of his own laws, which would require that he punish them for their transgressions. By trying to be noble and selfless, Arthur and Lancelot enter, in a sense, a pact of dishonesty, by which they try to preserve Camelot with lies rather than with friendship.