Comparing Malory's The Once And Future King

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Medieval tales are classic stories that have been retold through history and will continue to be told for years to come. People retell these tales via the form of books, shows, movies, or simply oral stories. Regardless of the medium in which they are shared, these medieval tales often get skewed with each new version. The legend of Mordred and King Arthur is no exception to this as new details slowly continue to incorporate themselves. An example of these wrinkles appears between Sir Thomas Malory’s, Le Morte D’Arthur, and T. H. White’s, The Once and Future King. In The Once and Future King, readers see that the advent of World War II changed the classical tale of Mordred by appealing to the audience’s modern sense of evilness. In Le Morte D’Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory leads readers through the life of Mordred. …show more content…
H. White’s story follows the same plotline as Malory’s, but differences begin to arise when White appeals to his readers’ modern sense of evilness. White wrote The Once and Future King in 1958, thirteen years after World War II. For that reason, White uses the war to modify the Arthurian legend. He informs readers that Mordred starts a coterie of men “who called themselves Thrashers” (White 460). Supposedly, the Thrashers’ main goal was to form a strong sense of nationalism within the community, but the clique was suspiciously responsible for “a massacre of the Jews as well” (460). This group’s actions seem eerily similar to those of Adolf Hitler during World War II, an element that White includes on purpose. He makes Mordred and Hitler comparable in order for his audience to form a personal, modern connection with the character. By doing this, White effectively portrays Mordred as the antagonist, even though he slightly twists the classical tale. Readers subconsciously recognize Mordred’s villainous nature because White’s modern variation easily allows them to develop a connection between Mordred’s actions and their modern sense of a wicked