For your blog this week, you will comment on this post as your character about Gawain's speech on page 472. I will provide the quote and you will provide the comments
"And give my goodbye to your gentle, gracious lady
and that other one, her most honored confidante,
For they cunningly waylaid this warrior with their wiles.
But it's no great wonder whenever a woman outwits
A man and leads him away to mourning or to madness,
For Adam himself was led astray by a woman,
And Solomon by several, and so too was Samson
(Who was doomed by Delilah), not to mention David,
Who was blinded by Bathsheba and suffered a bitter fate.
These were all laid low by women's lies. What great luck
If a lord could simply love them and not believe them!"
Oh woe is me! For such a treacherous and unjust fate to befall one such as myself is simply too much to bear. To be betrayed by my one true love in this world seems a fate fit for the worst of sinners and heretics and traitors, not for a man as good as myself.
Was I not a good and godly man? I whom dutifully tended to Arthur from the day of his birth to make him the most kind and virtuous king ever to be known to the world! I do not deny that I wished to be loved by the beautiful Viviane but is that truly a just cause for my cruel murder? Were it my will it was certainly within my power to take my pleasure of the maiden's flesh but instead I endeavored to win her heart as she had won mine. For her I left my good king's side, for her I taught all of my craft, for her I built a home to be envied by even the old emperors of Rome or even the king of Babylon, and for her I took an oath whereupon I swore to never vex the young thing! An oath not even taken by husbands on their wedding nights for as you all must know husbands often do vex their wives. And somehow to that oath I did adhere faithfully and for it she told me she loved me! Alas! Is to be enamored by maidenhood so wrong? It is a fine a virtuous trait that any man should be proud should his wife be in possession of.
And yet I was hated for it and for my birth. God saw fit to pardon me for my father's birth as did Uther and Arthur and all of whom I had known so why then did the object of my love have to be the one creature in all of creation who could not see fit to see my goodness rather than my taint? My actions have proven time and time and time again that I am no agent of the devil but always and forever a humble disciple of god! I wonder then, why has god denied me the one pleasure in this life which I sought? Ah, tis' not my place to question the great Lord's will but still as I lay here in this tomb occupied by two lovers whom I so envy for the love they shared I cannot help but lament at the fate which has been forced upon me. Perhaps in heaven the Lord will see fit to show my the pleasures so cruelly denied me for my entire life.
Ah but what sacrilege I speak! No I have always and shall evermore be a servant of God, if this be his will for me then I must humbly accept my fate. Better to lose my flesh than my soul I suppose. I lay here glad to know she was able to save Aurthur from his sister's treachery. Maybe this fate is my punishment for ever leaving Aurthur's side. I know he will live a great many more years and shall be the greatest king of history and this knowledge gives me contentment.
If nothing else let my woeful tale be a cautionary tale to good, faithful, and loving men of the world. Let them know of the wickedness and cunning of women which is so powerful it could best even me, The great and all knowing Merlin! Though they may say they love you faithfully and smile in your presence these words may be poison upon which you gleefully drink. Until your fate is sealed as is mine and there is naught to do but wait alone to die. In many ways this is my own fault but I have but one life to give and now I must commend my soul to God. Farewell friends.
Igraine by Julek Heller. Illustration from King Arthur and His Knights, 1990
I almost wish I had not read this work, and therefore still did not know the truth. Before I was ashamed and embarrassed. I did not know who the man was who came to me, disguised, the night my husband died. Now I know, and the sting of shame is joined by that of betrayal.
How could Merlin, whose own mother suffered the shame of having a child whose father she could not name, have helped Uther to trick me so? What manner of man is he that he would use his gifts to aid in so dishonorable an enterprise? And then, to demand my infant son as payment for his sinful work? It is monstrous!
And my lord Uther. To think that he could have done something so base...I thought his behavior low when he first sought my love behind the back of my husband, his loyal vassal, but this, this is so much worse. I am so ashamed! After all I did to resist Uther, he succeeded in taking my honor. As my beloved husband lay dying at the hands of Uther's soldiers, dying for the sake of Uther's lust and wounded pride, I lay in bed beside him. And now, I am his wife, his to command and to do with as he pleases. I don not know if I can bear it, now I know the truth. My only consolation is the thought that my son, raised by strangers, may grow to be a better man than his deceitful father.
Ah, what a truly marvelous day has been held today! Surely, it is a time for all men to be able to rejoice! Our ladies whom we all love with the entire passion of our hearts, have assured us such love is not misplaced. Earlier, a kind and generous man rode to our court, offering a mantle of great worth and beauty. A mantle any man would want to see their lady wear, I’m sure. And indeed, as fate would have it, every lady present today had to do just so! No man would have wanted it to be any differently.
The Queen was the first to have the honor of wearing such a mantle. But alas! It was not to be—what great joy that brought the King, you can imagine. Of course I, possessing a lady of high beauty and faithfulness, suspected it was only fit for her to be able to own something so rich.
The strangest thing began to happen, though—she began to tremble. I hadn’t had the faintest idea as to why, for it would be impossible for my lady to bring me nothing but honor. For some reason or another, however, the mantle did not shape her body well at all. What surprise that brought me! That I, a great knight, should be shamed in front of my fellow men as well as the King himself; that that shame came from my own lady love! She was certainly the loveliest of ladies now in my eyes, more so than she had been before this.
The ladies of the court joined her one by one. Oh, rejoice my lady! You now don’t have to suffer loneliness no longer. Look at all the lovely company you have. This court truly had the most beautiful women in the whole world, I discovered.
All women are this beautiful, I think. How lovely it is to break an oath; to be unfaithful. It must be men who are not beautiful. Why else would our ladies be unsatisfied? It is obviously natural for ladies to move on to a more handsome, newer man. It is a norm for women to be this way, and finding one that is truly chaste is a rare sight to behold. If our ladies are this way by nature, what can we men do? This will only cause us dishonor. It was only thanks to that mantle this fact could be known, and our honor lost. Ah, yes, today indeed was a day for all men to rejoice.
I for one, will not rejoice this day. The trickery of the mantle has caused much shame and embarrassment to the ladies of the court. We have been publicly humiliated. You men sit by and whine of your precious honor, while we have been lowered to the most base level. This does not befit the dignity of a Queen. The ladies of my court are good noble women and mockery has been made at there expense. What lesson is to be taught by this trick? What happiness and goodness has been brought to our kingdom by this mantle? None. It would appear that we women must endure such reproach while the men of the court get off with little more than bruised egos. Why is it that we women endure this humiliation? How is it that this shamefulness was brought upon us? We did not consent to try the mantle with the full knowledge of its magic and we did not lie down alone.