Idylls of the King:A peep into the Victorian chronicle

The Idylls of the King; Lord Tennyson best ever composition during the Victorian age. Alfred Lord Tennyson is the most important poet of the Victorian period and the finest of poetries are included in his works in English literature. Consisting of twelve poems which were published in between 1842 and 1888, in several fragments and blends.

Idylls of the King is a poetic dealing of the Arthurian legend written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The four books namely Enid, Vivien, Elaine and Guinevere were published as Idylls of the King in 1859.

With fascinating characters of King Arthur, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot and several other Knights of the Round Table, the Idylls of the King deals with a thrilling era of the English history. Reading the book is quite stimulating in itself.

 

Idylls of the King;The Vintage Book
Idylls of the King; The Vintage Book

 

Quotes from Idylls of the King

I fain would follow love if that could be,
I needs must follow death who calls for me,
Call and I follow, I follow! Let me die.
” 

                                    ― Alfred Tennyson

 

“After all had eaten, then Geraint; for now the wine made summer in his veins; let his eye rove in following or rest on Enid at her lowly handmaid-work,”                                         ― Alfred Tennyson

 

Characters in Idylls of the King

King Arthur

Bring up by Merlin the magician, King Arthur was from Camelot and his birth is said to be wearing a veil in great mystery. The mystic sword ‘Excalibur’ was received to him from the Lady of the Lake and later marries Guinevere.

A very wise ruler. He drives out the entrant with his Round Table knights and amalgamates his kingdom. Arthur is fatally wounded in a disloyal revolt and depressing was the unfaithfulness of Guinevere’s with Lancelot.Guinevere:    Guinevere was Arthur’s dearly loved queen and his disincentive.

Arthur had sent Lancelot to take along Guinevere father’s home but unfortunately, she falls in love with the courteous Lancelot who was revealed to be gay. Much later, on divulging her guilty love she goes to a monastery where she spends the rest of her life.

Lancelot

Lancelot was a knight of the Round Table. Great wretchedness was his enduring love for Guinevere. He is loved by a woman whom he cannot love in return. In the end, he had to leave Camelot and later died as a monk when the scandal with Guinevere was exposed. Gareth:  Gareth was the nephew of Arthur and also a knight of the Round Table. His hunt was on behalf of a lady, who is mocking of her inexperienced knight. He was successful in his quest and earns her approval.

king arthur from idylls of the king
King Arthur from Idylls of the king

 

Gareth:

Gareth was the nephew of Arthur and also a knight of the Round Table. His hunt was on behalf of a lady, who is mocking of her inexperienced knight. He was successful in his quest and earns her approval.

Guinevere:

Guinevere was Arthur’s dearly loved queen and his disincentive. Arthur had sent Lancelot to take along Guinevere father’s home but unfortunately, she falls in love with the courteous Lancelot who was revealed to be gay. Much later, on divulging her guilty love she goes to a monastery where she spends the rest of her life.

Passing of Arthur

The last poem in the sequence, revealing the knight Sir Bedivere, who shared the last few flashes with King Arthur. Written by A.L Tennyson which debates the story of the round table. Bedivere bears out the last few desires of Arthur, as he was on his last legs.

Thus the poem is chiefly Bedivere’s description of the encounters with King Arthur. Next, the occasions are unfolding until the death of King Arthur. The king who dirges over his slipups and let-downs are being comforted by Bedivere in every way possible.

The two main characters presented are the holder of the legendary sword ‘Excalibur’; the spearhead of the knights of the round table and the monarch of the great isle of britian, King Arthur. Another is the last remaining knight of the round table and also helped king Arthur even after the final battle, Sir Bedivere.

The poem begins with the description of Sir Bedivere, who recounts the last moment he had with King Arthur. The last battle at the coast of Lyonesse is recalled by Sir Bedivere. He recalls how terrific and the tragic battle was. The entire field was hidden by a strange mist at the end of the battle. None of the knights could realize to whom they were belligerent.

“That story which the bold Sir Bedivere, first made and latest left of all the knights,
Told, when the man was no more than a voice in the white winter of his age, to those
With whom he dwelt, new faces, other minds.”

On examining, the poem ‘The Passing of Arthur’ is account; that is elongated and represents a definite story instead of rambling. Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King centres on the Arthurian Legend.Written in iambic pentameter and rich in imagery and descriptive passages are the key focus in the poem.

The major weakness of the Idylls is that in spite of Tennyson’s excellence in blank verse, the poem is too thin and puny in the diction and imagery like the ancient Arthurian saga.it lags in appropriate relation of a story of outstanding thirst and brutal magnificence.

The portraying of scenes are also tremendous in the poem; The descriptions of the final battle scene; the Excalibur and also of the Queens’s weepings for the King. Quite a lot of figures of speech such as onomatopoeia and metaphors are also a part of the poem.

Q. What comes about at the battle?

Arthur struggles to discover a way through the drag mist, meanwhile, Guinevere is seen at Almesbury. He shoves Sir Mordred’s forces further. They come across one another as a white mist capes them all.

Q. What does Arthur say about death?

His death brought an end to the companionship of the round table and the charming exchange of knightly actions.

The Marriage of Geraint

The bravest knight of Arthur and the tributary prince of devon; giant marries the only daughter of ynioi, Enid. They both unconditionally in love with each other. Enid is also loved by the queen Guinevere.later on Enid and Guinevere became very good friends.
On the other hand, rumours about Lancelot and Guinevere was spreading like fire and Geraint believes the story without any proof.he thought that enid would too be followed by this; and thus wanted to return to Devon and seeks Arthur’s permission.
As they lie in bed one morning, she muses out loud about her sad dilemma and berates herself as a bad wife for remaining silent. Geraint awakens and overhears her last few words. He jumps to the conclusion that she is confessing her infidelity and is infuriated.

Most of the trouble occurs because of Geraint’s nature of suspect.he is no longer happy as he was earlier in the realisation, but he stops his habit of suspecting his wife.in the meantime children are born and turn into a happy family. Geraint never again judges or doubt Enid’s loyalty in their relationship. In the end, while fighting in a battle against northern heathen, Geraint dies a noble death.

 

The Lady of the Lake taking the infant Lancelot, in the Idylls of the King
The Lady of the Lake taking the infant Lancelot, in the Idylls of the King

Summary of Idylls of the King.

The conflict between good and evil is the dramatic background of the poem. The story of the first three knights is successfully and distinctly drawn, Lancelot in particular, representing a picture of a magnificent noble and chivalrous man, made captive and ruined by his own passions.

Though the character of Arthur is a failure and this leads the entire story to a false and heavy-handed quality. It is impossible for readers to sympathize with Arthur’s plight or to identify with him except in the most abstract way. Arthur’s titanic struggle ends in defeat, but this defeat seems only temporary, and Arthur’s ideals in the new spring are yet to come.

Read in pdf format

Idylls of the King in PDF format

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