85 pages 2 hours read

Roger Lancelyn Green

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1953

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Symbols & Motifs

Trials of Temptation

A central plot motif is the repeated trials that test Arthur and his knights. Though the grand quests prove the men’s physical prowess, the adventures contain smaller tests they must overcome to prove the virtue of their inner character. The most common trial is the test of temptation. Mysterious figures offer the knights worldly pleasures—fine food, wine, riches, love—in an attempt to show the knights’ weaknesses. Such trials are often associated with dark magical places, such as the Disinherited Lady’s magic pavilion and the sorceress Allewes’s Chapel Perilous. To overcome these tests, the knights must trust that their virtuous character will lead them out of danger. In the previous examples, Percivale escapes the lady’s snare by remembering his loyalty to Blanchefleur, and Launcelot escapes Chapel Perilous by following his sworn duty to the wounded knight. In following the strict behavior of their oaths, the knights accomplish their quests and bring glory to Logres.

Trials are not always made by evildoers; sometimes, trials have the intent to demonstrate the great restraint of Arthur’s knights that makes them worthy of such fame. One of the central examples is Gawain’s temptations at Sir Bernlak’s castle. Bernlak and his lady set up the game of temptation with help from Lady Nimue as a way to “test the truth of the renown that is spread abroad concerning the valor of the Knights of the Round Table, and the worth of Logres” (116).

blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
blurred text
Unlock IconUnlock all 85 pages of this Study Guide
Plus, gain access to 8,000+ more expert-written Study Guides.
Including features:
+ Mobile App
+ Printable PDF
+ Literary AI Tools