Study Guide

Morgan le Fay in Le Morte D'Arthur

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Morgan le Fay

The Lady Trickster

She schemes, she plots, she plans. Morgan le Fay, Arthur's aunt through his mother, Igrayne, is something of a thorn in the side of the Arthurian court. After Igrayne's marriage to Uther, Morgan spends time in a nunnery where apparently, instead of becoming pious, she becomes a great sorceress – whoops. Guess she missed the memo.

After she marries King Uriens of Gore and bears a son, Uwayne, who becomes a Knight of the Round Table, she uses her powers to try to bring down Arthur and his knights. At one point, she even manages to steal Excalibur and get it into the hands of her lover, Accalon, as he battles with Arthur. Then she escapes from Arthur's pursuit by turning herself and all her men into stones. This is one crafty lady.

So we clearly know that Morgan's powerful, but what exactly is she after? Does she just want power? Her plot with Accalon involve crowning herself Queen of England at his side, so that seems plausible. After her plot is foiled, however, her continued misbehavior just seems like the petty vengeance of a sore loser, or simply habit. She has lost her chance at power, so why's she still bothering to scheme? One thing we'll say for her, however, is that whether it's through sorcery or charm, she always seems to have a big castle and lots of men willing to defend it (and her). Something tells us she'll land on her feet.

Strangely enough, the real mystery of Morgan's character comes at the conclusion of the book. At the end of Arthur's life, Morgan is one of four women who appears on a barge and carries Arthur away in an attempt to heal him in Avylyon. But wait a minute, we thought she hated the dude. Could it be that she's had a change of heart toward Arthur? If that's true, what brought it on? We'll never know for sure, and Morgan remains as much of a mystery at the end of the story as she was at the beginning.

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