Le Morte D'Arthur
Revenge (or Vengeance) Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
And Kynge Pellam hymself arose up fersely, and seyde, "Knyght, why hast thou slayne my brothir? Thou shalt dey therefore or thou departe." (56.1-3)
Here, the cycle of vengeance that began with Garlonde continues. When Balyn kills him, he strikes the "dolorous stroke," which causes Pellam's whole castle to crumble. Whoops. As vengeance for that, fate conspires to make Balyn kill his own brother. So we're going to go ahead and say that the lesson here seems to be that vengeance is a bad idea, no matter which way you look at it.
And then the quene gryped that swerde in her honde fersely, and with all her myght she ran streyght uppon Tramtryste where he sate in his bayne – and there she had ryved hym thorowe, had nat Sir Hebes bene. (241.31-34)
It's rare to see a woman taking vengeance, especially in such a violent way. Women in this genre and time period generally resort to methods like poison or magic instead. But this queen is an Irish queen, which makes her different from the typical women. She's alien and strange in ways a British woman might not be.
"Sir Gawain and his three bretherne, Sir Aggravayne, Sir Gaherys, and Sir Mordred, sette upon Sir Lamorak in a pryvy place. And there they slew his horse, and so they faght with hym on foote more than three owyrs, bothe byfore hym and behynde hym; and so Sir Mordrede gaff hym his dethis wounde behynde hym at his bakke, and all tohewe hym." (416.16-22)
The cycle of vengeance that began with Lot's death at the hands of Sir Pellynore seems never-ending. Gawain has already killed Pellynore, so now he and his brothers do the same to Pellynore's son. But they don't kill the son honorably. Instead, they stab him in the back, which tells us that this blood feud is not at all chivalrous.