Since the beginning of time, men and women have existed side by side throughout the pages of history. Romance, whenever it first began, became more complicated when society imposed rules of conduct and morality.
When humans organized into villages, city-states, etc., there had to be rules and laws for the common good and welfare of the whole group. Organization of society brought about changes in how men and women related to each other, especially in the sexual aspect.
From the annals of time stories of forbidden love have intrigued the listener and eventually the reader. Lancelot and Guinevere is one of these tales, a morality tale of the consequences of a forbidden love.
In the final analysis their illicit love affair destroyed Camelot. In the following scene (which I wrote a number of years ago and will be posting in the near future on this blog), Arthur confronts his best friend and his wife and asks a simple question—why:
ARTHUR, LANCELOT and GUINEVERE:
“I have every right to kill, unfaithful friend. How many of my knights have fallen by your sword and especially, your dear friend, Gareth who was of my blood…he viewed you as a brother…”
“I know, my lord, and I cannot raise my blade against you, Sire. My once noble sword has been stained with too much noble blood from too many souls who called me friend, who called me brother…”
Guinevere comes to Lancelot’s side and kneels before her king and her husband. “If you kill him, I must die also, my king.”
“You once called me husband, woman,” Arthur’s tone is bitter.
“Arthur, forgive me for my unfaithfulness.” With a touch of agony Arthur stands speechless. “If you must take life, take mine. The sin was my doing.” Arthur looks at Lancelot.
The solar orb shines as the azure sky blends with the meadows and brooks of Brittany. For a moment of time Arthur is lost in a sea of turmoil within his troubled soul.
“Guinevere,” he begins with tears,” I cannot forgive you for your act of iniquity. Lancelot, I cannot forgive you, but yet I cannot kill the ones I have called wife and friend…” There is a long pause as Guinevere and Lancelot gaze at the face of Arthur which has aged with sorrow.
“Lancelot, I vanished you from these isles, return home, and Guinevere, your sentence is the harshest of all. You are to be an exile from all love that a man can give to a woman. To the nunnery…Why, my love, did you destroy me?” Arthur asks with tears running down his face.
“Arthur, I know not the commands of my heart. We cannot control that which is beyond our ability to do so. I pledged myself to you; the act I committed was wrong, tragically wrong. I love you still. I wish for death if I cannot be with you…” She cries…
“And Lancelot, why is my question to you?”
“My Lord, I am without words. What I did was wrong. It was a violation of everything we believe in…”
“Our system may not have been what we thought it was,” Arthur states as his mind returned to the now of his life.
Excerpt from To Remember Arthur: Remembrance G. D. Williams
Does passion overrule reason? Does love remove responsibility, especially if the love is forbidden by the norms of society? Is self-control overrated? When two people are sexually attracted to each other, should they give way to their desires, regardless of the societal norms? Is marriage and monogamy insufficient in 2011?
G. D. Williams © 2011
Here are some video scenes from YouTube on Lancelot and Guinevere:
Sword of Lancelot
The Mists of Avalon
Legends & Tales – King Arthur & the Age of Chivalry
The Arthurian Legend