Adultery and Killing in La Mort le roi Artu
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Insofar as adultery is considered wrongful, in medieval texts, it is often because it is connected in some way with an offence against property. This is either because of the importance laid on legitimate inheritance (which in turn requires wives to be faithful to their husbands), or because of the tendency to see women as themselves a form of property. In La Mort le roi Artu (The Death of King Arthur), however, adultery is presented in relation not to property but to the taking of life. How and why this is so is what this chapter will explore.
KeywordsMoral Judgement Ethical Significance Single Combat Medieval Text Scarlet Letter
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- 2.Quotations are in my own translation from La Mort le roi Artu, ed. Jean Frappier (Geneva: Droz, 1964), cited by paragraph and line number. An English translation, by James Cable, The Death of King Arthur is available in Penguin Classics (Harmondsworth, 1971).Google Scholar
- 12.See Sarah Kay, ‘Motherhood. The Case of the Epic Family Romance’, in Shifts and Transpositions in Medieval Narrative. A Festschrift for Dr Elspeth Kennedy, ed. Karen Pratt (Cambridge: Brewer, 1994), pp. 23–36, p. 33.Google Scholar
- 14.Charles Méla, ‘Life in La Mort le roi Artu’, in The Passing of Arthur. New Essays in Arthurian Tradition, ed. Christopher Baswell and William Sharpe (New York and London: Garland, 1988), 5–14, p. 10.Google Scholar