From Courtly Love to Consent, Arthuriana and the Importance of Adaptation: The Classic Love Triangle Represented in Le Morte Darthur, The Mists of Avalon and Once & Future
Driel, Ella van
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Throughout literary history there have been many iterations of the Arthurian myth. Especially since the start of the romance genre with Chrétien de Troyes’s Chevalier de la charrete there has been a fascination with the love triangle between Lancelot, Guenevere, and Arthur. Chretien might have introduced the romance between Lancelot and Guenevere, but their romance has lived on and been reinterpreted since its first appearance. In this paper Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur will be used as the starting point to analyse two modern interpretations of the love triangle compared to the medieval version of the romance. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon and Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy’s Once & Future will be analysed to compare and contrast how the love triangle has evolved and changed and what influence these changes have on the legend. Adaptations of popular works are able to critique the past and critique the contemporary period, but they are also able to change the tale, address topics that weren’t addressed in the original text, and subvert genre and expectations in dynamic ways. This paper will explore the malleability of the Arthurian legend and how the feminist movement, a developing social and political consciousness, and the need for stories that have been omitted or ignored are added onto the story and the love triangle between Lancelot, Guenevere and Arthur.