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Review of the Story of Lancelot

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Lancelot is a character most people are familiar with. In the story of Lancelot, Lancelot and the seven knights must rescue Guinevere, a damsel in distress who is being held captive by a knight called Melegeant. They come across a woman while on their way to rescue Guinevere who says that there are only two paths to reach the place where Guinevere is being held captive:

"One is called the 'water bridge,' because the bridge is under water, and there is the same amount of water beneath it as above it, so the bridge is exactly in the middle. The other bridge is still more impracticable and much more perilous, having never crossed by man. It is just like a sharp sword and therefore all the people call it 'the sword-bridge (Fiero 86).'

The knights eventually end up crossing the sword-bridge. The story tells of Lancelot getting his hands, knees and legs cut up by the sword-bridge. However, it is his duty to rescue Guinevere that keeps him going. As an ideal this represents domination because Lancelot overcame a near impossible obstacle to reach his objective. As the story progresses, Lancelot duels the knight Melegeant and spares his life but is taken captive.

The ideals reflected in Lancelot show toughness and domination; however they have also changed as Lancelot is part of a team when he sets out rescue Guinevere. Also, Lancelot shows emotions towards Guinevere and mercy to his enemy. In the traditional ideals of the warrior culture, love, mercy and teamwork were obviously not part of it.

Germanic warrior culture obviously had a profound influence on early medieval literature, but literature was not the only place where the warrior culture had an influence, the arts were also influenced by the warrior culture.



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