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Ancient Mythology - Essay Example

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No one really knows whether King Arthur was a man or a fantasy, but his name will live forever as the great king whose battles, trials and tribulations along with his Knights of the Round Table have been famous for almost a thousand years (Thomas Green, 1998 - 2004).
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Ancient Mythology
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Download file to see previous pages We come now to the year of 1982 when Marion Zimmer Bradley published her astonishing book The Mists Of Avalon. We will compare Bradley's work with the original tales, to demonstrate that while the myth of Arthur was and is still powerful, the women in Arthur's life took center stage and became legends in their own right with Bradley's book.
In the original legend, Arthur was born to Uther Pendragon and his wife Igraine. Arthur had an older half-sister Morgaine, also later known as Morgan Of the Fairies. Merlin the Magician was originally known as Taliesin, a Druid High Priest who transformed over time and many authors.
The original tale of Arthur's destiny is kept true to form in Bradley's book, where Arthur winds up with a fatal wound at the hands of his son, Mordred. Some claim that Mordred was the son of Arthur and the golden-haired Guenivere, and others claim that Mordred was a bastard child of Arthur's who later attempted to lay claim as Arthur's heir to the throne since Arthur had had no other sons.
Bradley's rendition of the Arthurian legend centers on the women of Arthur's life and court. Igraine was married to Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, with whom she had a daughter, the dark-haired, solemn-eyed Morgaine. Igraine loved her husband but felt a powerful draw to the beautiful, blonde Uther Pendragon. They were in love with each other, but could do nothing about it. Finally, Gorlois was killed in battle and Igraine married King Uther Pendragon, taking little Morgaine into the royal household with her. Later, their son Arthur was born, rightful heir to the Pendragon throne.
This story took place in the early Christian times, when the pagans still held their festivals and Christianity had not yet dominated the land. When Arthur came of age, after having been tutored in the arts of kingscraft and druidism, he was to defeat the King Stag at the Beltain Fires and make love to the Maiden, representing Mother Earth. Arthur went to battle with the King Stag and won, then was led to the fires where he bedded with a prepared young virgin priestess. He later found to his horror that he had bedded his half-sister Morgaine. The child of Beltane would be Mordred.
Bradley's book goes into a deeper explanation of the old religion, where the Isle Of Avalon was the place where the Lady Of the Lake (the High Priestess) was head of a special school for maidens who had the potential to become priestesses. In those days, unwed girls either went to nunneries or to the Isle Of Avalon. Viviane, the Lady Of the Lake, was Morgaine's grandmother with a vested interest in keeping the pagan traditions alive and defeating the Christian priests with their dirges and liturgies that oppressed women and insulted the Goddess.
Morgaine trained under Viviane and did her bidding, like it or not. The first betrayal to Morgaine was the Beltane ceremony; Viviane knew full well that the royal blood of the Goddess must continue, and Morgaine and Arthur were the only two people possessing Viviane and Taliesin's bloodlines. Where the original legends portray Morgaine (Morgan Of the Fairies) as an evildoer determined to undermine Arthur's efforts, Bradley's Morgaine is the actual heroine as she struggles to keep the realm of the Goddess alive under the continued intrusion of the Christian pri ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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