Moral Choices Essay

Submitted By jesslynnmarae
Words: 881
Pages: 4

Jesslynn Grigsby
Professor Andrade
English 2322 WS1
23 March 2014
Moral Choices What does it mean to have morals? According to the Webster dictionary, to have morals means to concern or relate to what is right and wrong in human behavior. These are values that are engraved into a brain at a young age and may change or grow with time. One person may have values that are completely different from the person sitting next to them. Sir Thomas Malory’s story of “Morte Darthur”, is a great example of “Christian and chivalric” (Armstrong 1) morals and how they differ from others. Each knight has their own perspective, and the story allows its readers to see those. As Lancelot continues his affair with Guinevere, Gaheris and Gareth vow to stay unarmed when taking Guinevere to be burnt, Gawain declines the order to guard Guinvere, and Lancelot refuses to kill Gawain, it shows that each knight has their own moral decisions to attend to. King Arthur welcomes Lancelot on to his court, quickly noticing his courage and character. This led Arthur to confide and trust in Lancelot, but little did he know that Lancelot was going to fall in love at the first sight of his wife, Guinevere. Lancelot jumps at the chance to ask Guinevere to name him her knight and champion when King Arthur set off on an adventure. Upon Arthur’s return, Guinevere admits her love for Lancelot and continues on with an obsession-like affair lasting for many years. The first time Lancelot lays eyes on Guinevere he is forced to make a moral decision. Readers are led to believe that Lancelot can be a well-trusted knight, and setting the standards high as to what his morals may be. Under first impression, he appears to be a genuinely caring guy, but soon his morals are tested with an affair. It becomes clear that Lancelot “disavows both marriage and ‘tak[ing] my pleasure with paramours (270.28-271.4)” (Grimm 2). He consistently shows a direct correlation between adultery, lustfulness, and marital hardship. Lancelot’s choice of adultery was not a decision made for the better, but more as a selfish act. Instead of avoiding the situation with King Arthur’s wife, he created an act that gives the court a reason to believe Lancelot is in it for himself; untrustworthy. Because of Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere, King Arthur is forced to sentence her to burn at the stake. Arthur has given orders to his nephews, Gawain, Mordred, Gareth, and Gaheris, to keep watch on the scene knowing an attempt to rescue Guinevere could occur from Lancelot. Gawain, a courteous and compassionate warrior, is firmly loyal to his king and family. That gets proved true as Gawain refuses to be involved in a deed that will show dishonor to the queen. This act shows the morals of Gawain tremendously. He does not believe it is respectful to treat a queen in that manner, and stands up for what he thinks is right. This decision is for the best, as it allows the society to see a true, and loyal knight. By standing up for his beliefs, he is showing society that the ruler is not always right, and that it is okay to speak up for what they believe. Also showing loyalty to the queen, the brothers, Gaheris and Gareth chose not to be armed in the duty of escorting Guinevere to the stake. Although they were unable to get away from the king’s orders of