The Once And Future King Re: Posessions Essay, Research Paper
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a posession is “an actual holding or occupancy, with or without rightful ownership.” Based on this definition and the status of women at the time of writing the book, it is concluded that Guenevere is considered a possession. This being the case, look at everything that happened because of her, culminating in the ultimate collapse of Arthur’s kingdom. Her mere presence created so much tension between Arthur and Lancelot, it could be practically cut with a knife. Their pride makes them continue trying to totally win over Guenevere. Pride often lets people do foolish things, such as Arthur knowing about the relationship between Guenevere and Lancelot for some time, but not saying anything. If he had said something early in their affair, it could possibly have been stopped right then and there.
Guenevere is not the only living posession. Other women were considered posessions too, as shown by the earlier dictionary definition and the pathetic status of women during this time period. “The position was…that Arthur’s father had killed the Earl of Cornwall. He had killed the man because he wanted to enjoy the wife” (p.522). He might as well have been talking about a lampshade; “He wanted to enjoy the lampshade…” If women were not posessions, men would think of them more highly than to act in this way towards them, as if ‘to enjoy the wife’ is a good enough reason to kill someone. Morgause was also treated as a posession. “Eventually one of the other sons had cut her head off in a storm of jealousy, in discovering herself in bed at the age of seventy with a young man named Sir Lamorak” (p.523).
Money money money. “King Lot…his attitude to the war is the same as your father’s would have been. He doesn’t care a fig about Gaels or Galls, but he goes in the wars…for profit in ransoms…”(p.235) “This is their chance to…make a bit of money in ransoms,” it says on page 225, while speaking of war. These are two of numerous examples of people going into war for the sole reason of money or other kinds of profit. People were afraid of walking openly with jewels or such things on them, due to the considerable amount of times greed for posessions has been the cause of a war. “…money buried, and nobody daring to walk abroad with gold or ornaments on their clothes. That is chivalry nowdays” (p.225).
Another reason that people in The Once and Future King went to war was over posessions of titles, power, kingdoms, and land. Based on our dictionary definition, all of these are considered posessions. “Look at Lot and Nentres and Uriens and all that Gaelic crew, fighting against you for the kingdom” (p.225). An example of the desire for the throne being a cause for war is shown in this quote: “They will come again, said the magician “all six.” The Kings of Orkney, Garbith, Gore, Scotland, The Tower, and the Hundred Knights have started already …You must remember that [Arthur's] claim to the throne is hardly a conventional one…Let them come, replied The King. “I don’t mind. I will beat them properly this time and then we will see who is master” (p.221). An example of causing war over the desire for physical posessions is in the ant creed: “When we are so numerous and starving…obviously we shall have a right to take other people’s stores of seeds” (p.128).