A Medieval Contest Between The Arthurian Legends

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A Medieval Contest Between The Arthurian Legends And The Fellowship Of The Ring Essay, Research Paper A Medieval Contest In comparing and contrasting the Arthurian Legends and J.R.R. Tolkien s book The Fellowship of the Ring, it is almost like a medieval contest between the two with many of the similarities coming from the customs of the Middle Ages. A look at the make up of the groups involved, the moral code, the protagonist, the antagonist, the use of supernatural elements and the knightly quest involved in each book shows how alike they are but yet different. The Arthurian Legends revolve around the life of the knights during the Middle Ages. A knight would pledge his loyalty to God, his King, fellow knights and to women in distress. Tolkien s Fellowship which consists of

Gandalf, Legolas of the Elves, Gimli of the Dwarves, Aragorn and Boromin of the humans and four hobbits, Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. This Fellowship is like the Round Table of King Arthur. Sir Thomas Malory in his Le Morte d Arthur shows this Round Table as a military group loyal not only to their King but to one another. King Arthur is given the Round Table as a wedding gift by Gwynevere s father. It consists of one hundred knights. Often the knights join together to defend the honor of another knight by killing the one causing the dishonor. The Fellowship bands together with the common purpose of destroying the Ring. The Ring can only be destroyed by throwing it back into the Cracks of Doom in Orodruin, the Fire Mountain, in Mordor, home of the Emperor of Darkness known as

Sauron. The Ring should Sauron get it would give him the power to control the world. The obvious difference in the make up of the Round Table and the Fellowship is that the Round Table is made up of humans whereas the Fellowship has humans along with fantasy creatures such as Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves and Gandalf and Aragorn who are human, wizard type beings. Hobbits range between two and four feet in height. They dress in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green; but they seldom wore shoes, since their feet had tough leathery soles and clad in thick curling hair. They laugh, delight in parties and love to eat. (Tolkien, p.20) Hobbits prefer to live in holes in the ground. Dwarves are larger than Hobbits but smaller than humans. Elves appear not to age and rather tall

around six feet. They live in treetops, love music and worship the stars and even have starlight radiating from their bodies. The moral code of the knights of the Round Table which was renewed at the feast of Pentecost every year was to: only fight in just cause, at all times to be merciful, at a all times to put the service of ladies foremost. (Malory, p.344.) Sir Gawain s strength was increased for three hours every morning but after noon would decrease. Once when in battle with Sir Launcelot to avenge the death of his two brothers by Sir Launcelot, Sir Launcelot realizes Sir Gawain s strength is less so he says to him Sir Gawain, I have endured many blows from you but I see that you have weakened and then turns to King Arthur and says, My liege, your expedition can find no

honorable conclusion, so I pray you withdraw and spare your noble knights (Malory, p.373.) showing mercy and fair play. Frodo Baggins also takes on a moral code as he accepts his role as the Ring Bearer. Hobbits by nature are fun loving and non-competitive, but Frodo says to Elrond, I will take the ring. . .though I do not know the way. (Tolkien, p.324) When sitting in the chair of the Guardian Kings of Gordor at the top of Amon Hen in the Seat of Seeing, Frodo sees the world covered by Orcs, Lorien in smoke and Borenings s land on fire and finally sees and feels the Eye of Sauron. He cries out, I will do now what I must. . .the evil of the Ring is already at work even in the company and it must leave them before it does more harm. I will go alone. (Tolkien, p.472.) The main