With the relationships between Launcelot and Gwenyvere, and Trystram and Isode, Le Morte D'Arthur provides in-depth examples of devoted, to-the-death love between men and women. But these love affairs are both star-crossed because the woman happens to be the wife of the king and, more importantly, her lover's king, to whom each knight owes absolute loyalty and respect. Men's love for women in Le Morte, then, is a powerful, dangerous emotion.
But there's a second kind of love at work in Le Morte, and that's the love between men – overlords and their vassals, and the fellowship between knights. Although this love is between two (or more) men, in many ways it looks pretty much the same as heterosexual love. Like that love, it's motivated and earned by chivalric deeds of arms and honorable behavior, and can be easily lost when the lover fails on these counts. Yet in contrast to heterosexual love, the love between men usually saves lives and contributes to the orderliness of society rather than disrupting it. So when it comes to love, it seems that Le Morte D'Arthur is both frightened of its ability to wreak havoc, and aware of its ability to bring folks together.
Love between men and women in Le Morte D'Arthur is nothing but trouble. It destroys friendships, families, and – how could we forget? – all of Camelot.
Love between men and women in Le Morte D'Arthur is awesome. It provides men with a means of ennobling themselves and women with a chance to experience an emotion that marriage rarely provides.