Study Guide

The Defence of Guenevere Choices

By William Morris

Choices

Guenevere claims that the choice she made (to be with Launcelot, we assume, although she's not very explicit on this point) was made almost arbitrarily.  She had no way of judging right from wrong when she made her decision.  So how are we to judge her?  How can people ever tell what's going to come of their choices?

Questions About Choices

  1. Why does Guenevere open her defense with the long, confusing allegory of the choice between the "red cloth" and the "blue"?  How does that allegory of choice relate to the decisions she herself has made?  Does her allegory make sense?  Is it effective?  Why or why not? 
  2. How does Guenevere's audience seem to react to her allegory of the red and blue cloths?  Cite specific lines to support your answer.
  3. Through the allegory of the red and blue cloths, Guenevere claims that she had no way of knowing which choice was "right" and which was "wrong."  Does this seem accurate, given the rest of her defense?  Again, cite specific line numbers from the poem to support your answer.

Chew on This

Guenevere's extended allegory of the red and blue cloths suggests that all choices in the world of the poem are made blindly.

If all choices are made blindly in "The Defence of Guenevere," then the consequences doled out by Providence (or by the courtroom) are arbitrary and unfair.

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