The use of trial by battle in the work of Sir Thomas Malory

The use of trial by battle in the work of Sir Thomas Malory

Enyon, Nadine Ruth(Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

M.A. Thesis, English, University of Saskatchewan (1974)


In this thesis I will examine the use of trials by battle in the work of Sir Thomas Malory. In Chapter One, I will study the historical practice of judicial combat in order to provide a background against which Malory’s fictional battles can be evaluated and, on the basis of this historical information, I will formulate a definition of trial by battle. In Chapter Two, I will apply the definition to the battles in Malory’s work which are motivated by a sense of justice. In Chapter Three, I will examine Malory’s use of battles, generally, without reference to legal implications. In my last chapter, I will discuss the methods in Malory’s work by which justice is determined, concentrating on the method of trial by battle.I will evaluate, as far as it is possible, the extent to which the decisions reached through trial by battle are just. Finally, I will discuss the incident in the last book where Arthur refuses Lancelot and Guinevere a trial by battle.

Click here to read this thesis from the University of Saskatchewan

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