Study Guide

Le Morte D'Arthur Book 15

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Book 15

Sir Launcelot, Episode 2

  • And it's back to Launcelot, folks. You didn't think we'd forgotten him did you?
  • Launcelot rides to a chapel, inside of which he sees a dead man wearing a white shirt. He also spies a monk from the same religious order as the dead man, who claims the dead man broke the rule of his order by dressing this way. Picky picky.
  • When the monk performs an exorcism, a fiend arises and tells the men the story of the dead man:
  • He advised his nephew in a war against an earl, for which two of the earl's henchmen tried to take revenge on him by burning him. They were unable to kill him, however, because he was protected by God.
  • The next morning, Launcelot and the monk bury the dead man. The monk commands Launcelot to wear the dead man's hair shirt, and to abstain from meat during his quest.
  • Then, Launcelot has a vision of a man crowned with stars and gold, who leads a fellowship of seven kings and two knights. In the vision, an old man descends from the clouds and tells one of the knights that he has betrayed him by doing all his worldly deeds out of vainglory, or pride.
  • Next Launcelot rides to another hermitage. This hermit explains his ancestry, stretching back to Joseph of Arimathea, and tells Launcelot that his son, Galahad, will outdo all earthly knights.
  • Launcelot comes across a tournament of white and black knights. He decides to help the black knights, because they're losing, but finds himself overcome by those in white.
  • Still in disbelief at his defeat – an experience he's never had before – Launcelot meets a recluse who tells Launcelot that he can't expect to be the best knight in spiritual quests, which is fitting, given all we know about our Lance.
  • She explains that the white knights represented those who live chaste, holy lives, and that Launcelot's defeat was due to his lust for earthly glory, of which God is not a fan.

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