Reflection of the Wars of the Roses in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur: Literary-cultural analysis

Edward Burne-Jones - The Last Sleep of Arthur

Reflection of the Wars of the Roses in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur: Literary-cultural analysis

By Tomáš Kocourek

Bachelor’s Thesis, University of Pardubice, 2007

Edward Burne-Jones - The Last Sleep of Arthur
Edward Burne-Jones – The Last Sleep of Arthur

Abstract: The aim of this research paper is to analyse the Morte D’Arthur and find certain historical moments incorporated in the book. Firstly, as the goal of work follows a hypothesis that Thomas Malory reflected manifold incidents from the Wars of the Roses in the Morte D’Arthur, it was inevitable to understand author’s position in this civil war, which meant investigating in the authorship. Ensuing from assumptions and facts of famous literary historians about all possible candidates, a conclusion was established that only Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel may be the author.

On basis of this first finding, it was then possible to start an analysis of the work and Malory’s motives. Since the sources of the Morte D’Arthur have been analyzed in many different scholarly works, these were then taken as the basis for the analysis itself. In the course of the analysis, various incidents were reported to possess a certain degree of similarity or even to be wholly identical. Finally, following the results of the research, it was stipulated in the conclusion that the hypothesis was approved.

Introduction: This final research paper investigates in a phenomenon often utilised in various kinds of fiction literature. It is implication of historical information of any kind into a story, which is entirely fictive, and using the story to express author’s thinking about the historical incident, person, etc. This research paper is concerned with the use of this phenomenon in a book by Thomas Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur. The book is one the most famous fiction stories about legendary King Arthur, whose life and death predominantly compose the spine of Malory’s tale. There are, as well, other passages and tales, in which Arthur is not in the centre of the plot. Most of these stories were translated by Malory from French models, which represent the major branch of author’s all sources. The other part of the source texts of Malory concerns English and Welsh poems, ballads, and other materials, which were only vaguely transformed as to the style, the language of the author, dialect respectively, or narrowing and extending on different occasions in the book.

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