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Uther and Igraine and the Story of Arthur’s Birth: Descriptive Essay

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Uther and Igraine and the story of Arthur’s birth

Uther-Pendragon was a king, became Overlord of all of Britain. One of the men who helped him get to this position was Merlin, a powerful enchanter, and prophet. After a few years, he met Igraine and married her. She was the widow of Gerlois, the Duke of Tintegal. With the marriage, he acquired two daughters, Margaise and Morgan le Fay. After a few years, they had a child, Arthur. Afterwards, Merlin came and said he felt a spirit of prophecy that Uther and Igraine were going to die and Arthur would be in danger and requested the he and Ulfius could take the child somewhere safe. They took the child and shortly afterwards, Uther died. Because Uther had no successor, Merlin announced the new king must pull a sword from a stone, which Arthur completes. In most Arthurian legends, the Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone are not the same. Can represent that good things can come from bad. Arthur was a product of adultery, which is obviously bad, however, he became a good and noble king, except for following the public reveal of Guinevere’s affair.

Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot (their story and the love triangle)

Guinevere was married to King Arthur; however, Sir Lancelot, King Arthur’s greatest knight (and his best friend), was her lover. Their love bloomed slowly, however, eventually they were both fully in love. A few of Arthur’s other knights grew suspicious and asked questions, however after Lancelot won a small battle by cleaving his opponent’s head in half, his and Guinevere’s honor was restored, and suspicions were put to rest. However after rumors continued to swirl, a few more knights grew suspicious and stormed Guinevere’s chamber, catching her and Lancelot in bed. Lancelot escaped, however, Guinevere was tried and condemned to burn to death. After this news, Lancelot tried to rescue her, killing several of King Arthur’s knights in the process. He ended his days as a hermit, and Guinevere became a nun. This led to the fall of the Round Table and eventual fall of Camelot. Their love triangle can simply be used to describe other love triangles, as well as adultery, the damage physically and emotionally that can be caused by love and betrayal. In the song, “Guinevere” by Eli Young Band, they use Guinevere to describe someone who is never okay with their current situation.

Sir Gawain and “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

Sir Gawain was generally said to be the nephew of King Arthur. He became the head of the Orkney Clan and is referred to as the greatest knight of the Round Table. He was the most trusted friend of Sir Lancelot and the rightful heir of King Arthur. The story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” begins when a figure referred to as the Green Night visits the King’s Courts on New Year’s Eve. The Green Night mocks the King and the King accepts his challenge, however, Gawain asks to take the knight himself and cuts off the knight’s head. The knight then challenges Gawain to yet another challenge in a year, to which Gawain accepts. A year later, when Gawain reaches the castle he finds to sleep in, he makes a deal with the host he’s staying with that every evening, that the host would exchange his winnings from hunting during the day for anything Gawain had managed to get while staying at the lord’s castle. During his stay, the lord’s wife sneaks in every night to attempt to seduce Gawain. The first night, she kisses him once, so in the morning he kisses the host once. This continues for two more days until day three when she gives him three kisses and a girdle that has supposed magical powers. When he goes to fight the Green Knight, who delivers two blows before a third one that draws blood. The Knight reveals his name is Bertilak and he was the lord with whom Gawain was staying with, and because he was not honest on his third day, his third blow drew blood, however, he had proven himself to be a worthy knight. The Knight also reveals his “wife” was Morgan le Fay and she had used her powers to change the knight’s appearance. Guilty of having lied, Gawain carries the girdle on his arm to remind him of his failure. When he returns to the castle, he is greeted by the other knights wearing girdles as tokens of appreciation and support. Can be used to refer to supporting someone in rough times, always telling the truth, and being honest with yourself.


The original Merlin/Myrddin legend is not connected with King Arthur. However, in the later legends, he is involved in, he is King Arthur’s most trusted advisor, prophet, magician, and friend. Geoffrey of Monmouth created him. Combined tales and stories of a bard and wizard named Myrddin, created by Nennius. Chronicled that Myrddin had been born of no father and used his powers to foretell the defeat of the British by the Saxons. He is the most frequently portrayed Arthurian character. He is the greatest and most powerful wizard in Arthurian legends. Can be used to describe someone with a powerful and active imagination and has good insights, someone with many plans.

Morgan le Fay

Arthur’s half-sister (recall that she was the daughter of Igraine), she gives Excalibur to her lover, Accolon, so he can use it against Arthur and when that fails, she steals the scabbard which protects Arthur and throws it into a lake. Also, recall that she is presented as the instigator of the Green Knight’s visit to Arthur’s court in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” In some legends, she is presented as one of the women who take Arthur on a barge to Avalon to be healed, being one of the several “Ladies of the Lake.” She rarely appears in post-medieval works, however, in some modern novels, she is combined with Morgause to be Mordred’s mother. She often is used to represent control, sorcery, and manipulation. She can also be alluded to as a person of mystery as in some accounts, she is a shape-shifting witch while in others, she is a hero.

Nimue alias Vivienne, Lady of the Lake

She gave King Arthur the Excalibur and kidnapped Sir Lancelot as a child to later cure him of his madness. Vivienne, also known as Vivien, Nineve, Nimue, or Niniane, may have been the true lady of the Lake. She is best known as the women who sealed Merlin in a cave or a tree and put him under a spell. In this story, Merlin was able to foretell his future, however, he could not overcome his enchantment with Vivien. Her character is very ambiguous, even from the first introductions of her. In some legends, she is seen as someone who falls in love with Merlin and treats him well, while in others she resents Merlin when he shows her a tomb with lovers in it and she sends him to die a slow death. The Lady of the Lake can be used to represent someone who is helpful to most, however, had a habit of doing bad things.

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Arthur’s nephew and foster son. In the earliest legends, he is seen as a hero however in later legends, he becomes a villain. When Arthur was gone on his Roman campaign, he seized Guinevere and the throne, paving the way for their final battle. He apparently survived the battle, however, he was defeated by Lancelot. Arthur slept with his half-sister Morgause not knowing they were related, causing Mordred to be born. He tried to kill Mordred indirectly by forcing all children born on his birthday to be set adrift but failed after the shipwrecked and Mordred survived to become fostered by Nabur. He became one of Arthur’s knights and for a time, was a champion of Lancelot. He was so trusted by Arthur that he was chosen to rule the land of Avalon while Arthur went to fight Lancelot. Used to describe someone as evil, using tactics that are indirect to strike at someone and cause a fight.

Places: Avalon and Camelot


Mythical island is also known as the Isle of Apples or Isle of Glass. Had healing powers that were said to restore King Arthur after he was injured, and his sword, Excalibur, was forged there. Where Lady of the Lake and Morgan le Fay resided. Used to describe a place of significance. Today, Pagans also use Avalon to describe a path to inner wisdom.


City in the Kingdom of Logres ruled by King Arthur. Home of the round table in Arthurian legend. Described in romantic literature as being situated next to a river and surrounded by a forest and fields. Used to describe idealistic places and times.

Objects: Excalibur, the Sword in the Stone, and the Holy Grail


King Arthur’s sword. Symbol of responsibility of power. Given to him by the Lady of the Lake. It was said to be able to cut through steel and defended Camelot. It is used in literature to describe powerful items.

The Sword in the Stone:

The sword, in most legends not Excalibur, in which Arthur pulled out of the stone after thousands of other men could not. Crowned him king of England, making it is used to describe something only one person can do in the world. Special trait of someone.

The Holy Grail:

Also called the Sangreal, it is the cup Christ is said to have drunk out of at the Last Supper and the one used by Joseph of Arimathea to catch his blood during his crucifixion. The quest for the Holy Grail became King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table’s greatest quest. It was first mentioned by Chretien de Troyes and it seemed to illuminate the room. He never actually made the connection between Christ and the Grail before he died. The most important author afterwards was Robert de Boron who wrote of the origin of the grail in Joseph d’Arimathie. It is in this that the grail gets connected to the Last Supper and Christ’s crucifixion. The Holy Grail was taken to Britain by Joseph where it lay hidden for centuries. It was believed to have been kept in a castle, which among other things, had a custodian who guarded it named Fisher King. King had a wound that would not heal, and his betterment depended on the quest being completed. After the Middle Ages, the Holy Grail disappeared until the 19th century. Modern authors use the Holy Grail as an ultimate destination. It is used to describe anything that is hard to get, and you must go to (somewhat) great lengths to get to it. Some say it’s like a very difficult food item to get and it’s only available in one place on the other side of the world, some say it’s like a pilot’s license, others say it’s fame, such as Jay-Z in his song “Holy Grail.”

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Uther and Igraine and the Story of Arthur’s Birth: Descriptive Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from
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