A New Reason For Chivalry: A look at domestic violence in King Arthur’s family
By Rachel Campbell
Published Online (2004)
Introduction: When most people hear the term “Arthurian” many different words and names come to mind. Probably the most commonly thought of characters are Lancelot, Galahad, Guinevere, and, of course, King Arthur himself. Still, one must not forget the other Knights of the Round Table. Their devotion to King Arthur during a time of deception and bloody war is what made them famous, but also well known is the famed code of chivalry each knight swore to uphold and maintain. Keeping this in mind, I was shocked when I started to read the assigned books for this class. In all of the books I encountered stories of rape and violence against women.
This helped to open my eyes as I continued reading these books. I tried to read deeper into the stories of some of these women. Among them, I was most moved by the tale of Igraine, King Arthur’s mother. If Arthur was aware of the way he was conceived, and how his father, Uther Pendragon, treated his beloved mother, then it comes as no small surprise that his enforced code of honor included the care, protection and reverence of women. All of this said, it is Igraine’s story that I wish to further explore.