70 pages 2 hours read

John Steinbeck

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1976

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Chapter 6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 6 Summary: “Gawain, Ewain, and Marhalt”

In the aftermath of Morgan’s treachery, Arthur banishes her son, Ewain, from court. Ewain is determined to go on a quest to prove his loyalty to the king. Sir Gawain, his cousin, decides to accompany him. On their journey, they encounter Sir Marhalt, who challenges them to a joust. After fighting both young men, Marhalt asks to join their quest: “If you will permit, I will ride through the forest and share the excitement of your quest. I had forgotten how good questing can be” (136).

The three knights enter a forest where they find three ladies seated under a tree. One is a maid of 15, the second a woman of 30, and the third is past middle age. When questioned, they reply, “We sit here waiting for knights errant such as you. It is our custom, just as questing is yours. If you agree we can lead you to adventures if you will follow our custom; each of you must choose one of us as his guide” (137). Gawain chooses the young maid. Marhalt selects the woman of 30, and Ewain takes the old woman to accompany him. The three knights and their guides take separate paths to adventure.