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Free Study Guide-The Once and Future King-T.H. White-Free Book Summary
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Chapter 6

Summary and Notes

Arthur, as promised leaves for a hunting expedition, and Lancelot is in his chamber preparing to meet Guenever. Gareth surprises Lancelot in his chamber and proceeds to warn him of the plot against him and the Queen. The reader should remember that Gareth and Lancelot have had a special relationship since Gareth first arrived at Camelot - Lancelot took him under his wing.

Gareth is tangibly frightened for the lovers, but despite his urgent pleas, Lancelot does not take him seriously and laughs at the younger manís seriousness.


Lancelot is evocative of any number of Greek characters here, which extends Arthurís tragic fate and characterization in the previous chapter. Gareth acts as a sort of oracle - he warns Lancelot of dire future events, and Lancelot, not understanding the strength and omniscience of his enemies, believes too heavily in his own power. The knightís foolhardiness implies necessarily that Mordred and Agravaine are stand-ins in this tragic triangle for the gods themselves: their wrath at being ignored or defied is enormous, and vengeance will prevail. This makes sense thematically in the book: White has slowly been making a case that war is almost certainly an inevitability; that man, despite his best efforts, will be overwhelmed by an urge for violence and revenge. Arthur is merely a pawn; after all, his fate is to succumb to the ubiquitous tides of war, here represented by his son and nephew.

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