Malory provocatively follows the Grail quest with a story connected to another spiritual tale of Christian knighthood, but one that focuses on a woman. While Malory’s version of the “Poisoned Apple” comes from the French La Mort le Roi Artu and the stanzaic Le Morte Arthur, which are fairly secular, there is an allegorical version in the Book of the Knight of the Tour Landry. A rejected suitor gives a woman a poisoned apple, which she then gives to her lord’s son. She is accused of murdering him, but a champion named Patrides arrives to defend her. He wins the trial by combat, but dies of five mortal wounds in his hands, feet, and sides.1 While there is no evidence that Malory knew this version of the story, Caxton printed it in 1484, a year before he printed Le Morte Darthur. It is clearly a simple allegory of the fall and the redemption, but with Eve rendered remarkably innocent, and with Christ the model for championing ladies. This reminder that the Grail quest is not the only version of religious knighthood suggests a possible way the religious values of the Grail quest can be reconciled with the political values necessary to keep the country functioning.


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