The Queen Of Air And Darkness Essay

, Research Paper

The Queen of Air and Darkness

In the Queen of Air and Darkness Morgause raises four boys. She is not

a good mother, and she does not give her boys a sense of right and wrong. She

often ignores them for days at a time and beats them when they displease her.

She acts as if they were pets rather than human beings, to be loved or not at

her convenience . But despite this common maltreatment, the boys turn out very


Gawaine is the oldest of the boys and in many ways the most normal. He

becomes a knight in Arthur’s court, fighting for him loyally. The way in which

he is affected by his upbringing is his rages. When provoked Gawaine goes into

a berserk rage in which he does things he would normally never do. When Gawaine

and Agravaine are arguing over whether or not to write a letter to their father

about the knights, Agravaine refuses to say he is wrong, so Gawaine goes berserk

and attacks him. He does not simply beat him, but chokes him and slams his head

against the floor until Gareth pulls him off. If Gareth had not been there,

Gawaine very well might have killed his younger brother. Gawaine even kills a

women when worked up to a rage. These rages are a product of the unhealthy

childhood he endured.

The next child, Agravaine, is probably the least well adjusted of the

four. He tends to be sadistic and self-centered. The children were told the

tale of the King of Ireland by St. Toirdealbhach; the tale where the king gets a

head wound and can not be excited, but then he dies while trying to defend his

savior. Agravaine does not see any point in putting one’s self in danger to

protect any one else. He says ?It was silly, it did no good,? because he does

not understand the principal behind the story. He does not understand that

there are things other than yourself worth dying for. Agravaine’s sadism is

evidenced in the Unicorn episode. After the boys agree to capture and not kill

the unicorn, Agravaine runs up behind it and begins stabbing it repeatedly. He

could not stand that the Unicorn ever leave him, so by killing it he thinks to

own it forever. Agravaine is the boy most like his mother, in that he can not

see past his own interests.

The next child Gaheris, seems to have little personality. He is

described as ?a stolid child.? More often than not he seems to be just along

for the ride. He does not take part in the arguments. He generally just sits

back and watches. When Gawaine goes into a rage and attacks Agravaine, he does

not intercede on either boy’s behalf. The only thing he does in the fight is to

take the dirk which had been flung from Agravaine’s hand and ensure that it was

not recovered. He seems afraid of action. He prefers to take as passive a role

possible in confrontations. When Agravaine begins killing the unicorn, Gaheris

is the last to come out of hiding. When Gareth starts moaning over it being

dead, all Gaheris has to say is, ?Anyway, now its dead.? Unlike Gawaine, Gareth

is reclusive and hesitant to act.

The final child, Gareth, is by far the kindest. He balances out

Agravaine’s cruelty with his good will. When Agravaine is being beat by Gawaine,

Gareth saves his life by pulling Gawaine off him, despite the fact that Gawaine

was much larger than him. When Agravaine kills the Unicorn, Gareth tries to

stop him, and he then cries over the unicorn’s death. Gareth seems to have the

disposition of a monk. He believes that the King of Ireland was correct to

attempt to save his savior despite his condition. Gareth puts the welfare of

other people before his own.

The four boys, all brought up in the same manner, have different and

balancing features. Gawaine is outgoing and quick to act, but he is balanced by

Gaheris who is reclusive and slow to action. Agravaine is sadistic and selfish,

but he is balanced by Gareth who is kind and generous. They compliment each

other and together are stronger than they can ever be apart.


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