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Title: An examination of the social structure and of its effects on chivalry in Malory's 'Morte d'Arthur'
Author: Batten-Phelps, Carole
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1975
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This thesis considers the effects of certain relationships between Malory's characters on those ideas of honour and chivalry which are both implicit and explicit in the Morte D'Arthur. The first chapter is an analysis and description of the general structure of these relationships. The consistency of this structure in some directions is shown to be such that we are justified in referring to Malory's "Arthurian society". This society is shown to be fraternal and heroic in social bonds, form and behaviour, its fundamental value being loyalty among men. The second chapter discusses honour in relation to this society. Honour is shown to be two-fold, on one side an intrinsic part of character, on the other, social reputation. In the 'earlier tales of the Morte D'Arthur, Malory presents honour in fairly straightforward ways} but later there is shown to be a growing divergence between the appearance and reality of honour in Malory's Arthurian society, which eventually has disastrous effects. This divergence is further emphasised by the development of Malory's narrative art in the last two tales, where conflicts between personal loyalty and honour comprise the dramatic motivation of the Hound Table's tragedy. The third chapter examines chivalry in the light of social loyalties and honour, and shows how Malory's presentation of chivalry as something heroic and exclusively masculine essentially differs from its general treatment in his French sources. The last chapter concerns the predominant activity of chivalry in Malory's Arthurian society, which is fighting. In its various forms of battles, tournaments, single encounters and judiciary fights, fighting is related to the overall rise and fall of Malory's Arthurian society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature