Le Morte d’Arthur

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Sir Gareth (Beaumains) Character Analysis

Also known as Beaumains, Gareth proves himself at court under an unknown identity: he comes from noble blood, but would rather be known for his actions than for his illustrious lineage. He is the brother of Gawaine, Gaheris, and Agravaine, but he refuses to participate in his brothers’ murder of Lamorak, distancing himself from his family ties and instead aligning himself with Launcelot. Launcelot nonetheless accidentally kills him in battle, underlining just how much the court has gone tragically awry by the end of the book.

Sir Gareth (Beaumains) Quotes in Le Morte d’Arthur

The Le Morte d’Arthur quotes below are all either spoken by Sir Gareth (Beaumains) or refer to Sir Gareth (Beaumains). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Le Morte d’Arthur published in 1970.
Book 7 Quotes

I took none heed to your words, for the more ye said the more ye angered me, and my wrath I wrecked upon them that I had do withal. And therefore all the missaying that ye missaid me furthered me in my battle, and caused me to think to show and prove myself at the end what I was; for peradventure though I had meat in King Arthur’s kitchen, yet I might have had meat enough in other places, but all that I did for to prove and assay my friends, and that shall be known another day; and whether that I be a gentleman born or none, I let you wit, fair damosel, I have done you gentleman’s service, and peradventure better service yet will I do or I depart from you.

Related Characters: Sir Gareth (Beaumains) (speaker), King Arthur
Page Number: Vol 1, 251
Explanation and Analysis:

Beaumains has traveled much of the country with the anonymous damsel, attempting to prove himself and help her on her "adventure." Beaumains has conquered a number of knights quite impressively, but has still been subject to the damsel's regular insults and mockery. Finally, the damsel begins to acknowledge that she is somewhat impressed that Beaumains has endured all of this berating so stoically. Here Beaumains attempts to explain himself. He claims that he transferred his anger and frustration towards her onto the men against whom he fought. Indeed, her dismissal of him made him more eager to prove what a strong and chivalrous knight he was. 

For Beaumains, this kind of test is similar to what he put himself through as a menial kitchen boy at King Arthur's court - although he comes from a powerful family, it was important for him to prove his worth on his own, by setting a series of challenges and quests for himself, and completing them under a false identity, without the help of others or his own noble name. As a result, Beaumains has only underlined how he was worthy of great worship all along, even if his true identity remained unknown to others. Finally, he may be frustrated by the damsel, but as a woman she is particularly prized as someone whose admiration and respect he wants to provoke.

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Book 10 Quotes

But wit ye well Sir Palomides had envy heartily, for all that night he had never rest in his bed, but wailed and wept out of measure. So on the morn Sir Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan arose early, and then they went unto Sir Palomides’ chamber, and there they found him fast asleep, for he had all night watched, and it was seen upon his cheeks that he had wept full sore. Say nothing, said Sir Tristram, for I am sure he hath taken anger and sorrow for the rebuke that I gave to him, and La Beale Isoud.

Related Characters: Tristram (Tramtrist) (speaker), Isoud (La Beale Isoud), Sir Gareth (Beaumains), Sir Palomides, Dinadan
Page Number: Vol 2, 166
Explanation and Analysis:

During the tournament, Palomides, who has long been jealous of Tristram because he is also in love with La Beale Isoud, had hatched a plan to dishonor Tristram. He had borrowed a wounded knight's armor and had ridden out to fight against Tristram anonymously, making many at the tournament impressed with his skill. However, Isoud had been watching from a window in the castle, so she saw everything, and found Palomides' behavior shameful.

Now Palomides recognizes that his plan had backfired. Not only did he fail to win Isoud's admiration, but now she actively dislikes him, and Tristram - whom Palomides still admires despite his jealousy - is also irritated with him. Palomides' jealousy mingles with his sense of shame in a way that is so acute that he weeps all night long. Palomides is not even able to hide his feelings: Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan witness his state of sorrow, and Tristram easily guesses where it results from. Palomides may be a valiant fighter in a tournament, but the opinion of a woman can easily triumph over him in other spheres.

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Sir Gareth (Beaumains) Character Timeline in Le Morte d’Arthur

The timeline below shows where the character Sir Gareth (Beaumains) appears in Le Morte d’Arthur. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
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Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...of King Lot, comes to see him with her four sons Gawaine, Gaheris, Agravaine, and Gareth. Arthur lusts after her and they sleep together, though he doesn’t know that Margawse is... (full context)
Book 7
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...give him his name. Sir Kay suspects that this is a villain, and names him Beaumains (“Fair-hands”). (full context)
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Chapter 2 Gawaine is angry with Kay for mocking Beaumains, who is now eating sadly. Launcelot and Gawaine invite Beaumains to their chambers afterward, but... (full context)
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Chapter 3 Beaumains says he must now ask for two more gifts. First, he asks to undertake the... (full context)
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Chapter 4 Sir Kay rides after Beaumains, against the wish of Launcelot and Gawaine. Beaumains sees him and says he is an... (full context)
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Chapter 5 Beaumains asks Launcelot to give him a knighthood: Launcelot says he must know his true name.... (full context)
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Gareth (still referred to as Beaumains) continues with the damsel, who complains of his shabby clothes... (full context)
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Chapter 6 The next morning Beaumains and the damsel ride out across a river, which two knights are guarding. Beaumains kills... (full context)
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...of the Black Launds, who asks the damsel about this knight of Arthur. She says Beaumains is only a kitchen knave: she’d be grateful to be rid of him. Hearing of... (full context)
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...and asks after his brother, the Knight of the Black Launds, which the damsel says Beaumains has killed. This knight, the “Green Knight,” cries that Beaumains is a traitor, and, arming... (full context)
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Chapter 9 The damsel continues to complain about Beaumains, but the Green Knight says he must be a noble knight. In the morning the... (full context)
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...the Red Knight, looks out the window and decides to joust with the approaching knight (Beaumains). The damsel says that Beaumains has killed the Red Knight’s brother, so the lord says... (full context)
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Chapter 11 Beaumains says it is uncourteous of the damsel to keep insulting him, and asks her to... (full context)
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Chapter 12 Beaumains meets Sir Persant and they prepare to joust, first on horseback and then on foot... (full context)
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Chapter 13 In the morning Persant asks the damsel where she’s leading Beaumains, and she says to the siege of the Knight of the Red Launds in the... (full context)
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Chapter 14 Meanwhile Beaumains’ dwarf goes to the lady Lionesse and tells her that a knight is coming to... (full context)
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Chapter 15 The next morning Beaumains and Linet ride towards the castle. Nearby there are 40 armed knights hanging by the... (full context)
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Chapter 16 Linet points out the silhouette of Lionesse in a distant castle window, and Beaumains vows to fight for her. The Knight of the Red Launds approaches and calls out... (full context)
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...until past noon, panting and bleeding, battling until evening. Then they agree to rest, and Beaumains looks up to the castle window and is cheered by the sight of Dame Lionesse.... (full context)
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Beaumains reminds the Knight of the Red Launds of the shameful deaths of the 40 others.... (full context)
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Chapter 18 Many earls and knights arrive and ask Beaumains to spare the Knight of the Red Launds. Beaumains, though reluctant, admits that the Knight... (full context)
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Chapter 19 Beaumains asks Linet to bring him to her sister, but guards are blocking the castle entrance.... (full context)
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Chapter 20 As Gringamore rides away, Beaumains wakes up and follows him. Gringamore arrives to the castle quickly, and Lionesse and Linet... (full context)
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Meanwhile Gareth arrives angrily, sword drawn, and orders Gringamore to return his dwarf. At first Gringamore refuses,... (full context)
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Chapter 21 Lionesse greets Gareth, and the two fall deeply in love. Gringamore, after discussing with Lionesse, goes to Gareth... (full context)
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...so that they cannot sleep together until they are married. That night, Lionesse comes to Gareth’s bed, but when they begin to kiss, he sees an armed knight approaching. Gareth leaps... (full context)
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Chapter 23 The next night the armed knight returns, and Gareth and he fight through the whole hall until Gareth cuts off his head and slices... (full context)
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...to hold his Pentecost feast. The Green, Red, and Blue Knights arrive to tell of Beaumains’ prowess. Then the Knight of the Red Launds comes with 600 knights to tell him... (full context)
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Chapter 24 After granting pardons to the knights, Arthur asks where he can find Beaumains, but they don’t know. Arthur says he’ll make them his knights once he finds Beaumains. (full context)
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...arrives. Gawaine, Agravaine, and Gaheris greet her. Margawse rebukes Arthur for having made her son, Gareth, a kitchen knave, and asks where he is. Arthur renews his commitment to find him,... (full context)
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...should send a messenger to Lionesse to come to court, so that they might find Gareth. When the messenger arrives, Lionesse tells Gareth to ride forth to court, and she’ll come... (full context)
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Chapter 27 Lionesse prepares for the tournament. Lionesse tells Gareth she will lend him a ring for the tournament. The ring can make things change... (full context)
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...28 We hear of various battles between knights and of who won each jousting. Finally Gareth begins fighting, and strikes down a number of knights with a single spear. One king... (full context)
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...tournament lasts a long time, and though Launcelot strikes down other knights, when he meets Gareth, Gareth does his best not to hurt him or any of the other knights of... (full context)
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...Arthur sends heralds to approach the yellow knight, and one cries that this is Sir Gareth. When Gareth realizes he’s discovered, he lashes out more strongly, even striking down his brother... (full context)
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Chapter 31 Gareth arrives at a castle and asks for lodging, but when they learn he is of... (full context)
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Chapter 32 The knights fight until only four are left alive, and these flee. Gareth continues on until he comes to a castle where he can hear many ladies weeping.... (full context)
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Continuing on, Gareth meets the Duke de la Rowse, and says he had promised to fight with him.... (full context)
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Chapter 33 The Duke de la Rowse departs, and as Gareth rests, an armed knight races towards him. Gareth takes the Duke’s shield and prepares himself,... (full context)
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Chapter 34 Arthur asks Gareth and Lionesse if they would like to marry each other: each swears eternal love. They... (full context)
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...join for the wedding. The Green Knight arrives with 30 knights to pay homage to Gareth, as do the other conquered knights. They prepare a jousting for only unmarried knights. Arthur... (full context)
Book 10
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...knight and Tristram again refuses to joust, so Dinadan does so, before learning that it’s Gareth. The three meet another knight and Tristram goads Dinadan into jousting: Dinadan refuses, since he... (full context)
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...that he would kill the brothers who did it if they weren’t relatives of Arthur. Gareth says that he doesn’t meddle with his brothers’ affairs, and he’s cut himself off from... (full context)
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Chapter 60 Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan leave Palomides and come across an unarmed knight, who offers to bring them... (full context)
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...he’ll fight for on the field the next day. In the morning the jousting begins. Gareth is wounded, and Tristram and Palomides, dressed in green, help Gareth up and bring him... (full context)
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...Tristram meet and fight: Launcelot strikes Tristram down. Bleoberis, Ector, and Arthur win against Palomides, Gareth, and Dinadan. The King of Northgalis rides to Tristram and tells him, though he doesn’t... (full context)
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...In the morning Launcelot departs and Tristram prepares to ride in with Isoud, Palomides, and Gareth. Watching from a window, Launcelot remarks at the woman’s beauty, and Arthur tells him that... (full context)
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Chapter 74 Then the jousting begins again, and Palomides and Gareth do especially well. Tristram watches, meanwhile, but then Gareth reminds him of Dinadan’s rebukes of... (full context)
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...realizing it’s Tristram, Launcelot fights him (though Tristram does know it’s Launcelot). Then Dinadan tells Gareth that the knight is Tristram, and they agree to strike down Launcelot together. They do... (full context)
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...77 The fighting ends, and Isoud goes to the pavilion, still furious with Palomides. Tristram, Gareth, and Dinadan meet there, and when Palomides arrives, still disguised, Tristram tells him to leave.... (full context)
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...Arthur asks why Tristram has fought against them, and Tristram says it’s the fault of Gareth and Dinadan. Arthur cheerfully accepts it. That knight, Palomides stays awake all night in tearful... (full context)
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Chapter 80 Tristram tells Palomides, Gareth, and Dinadan that he will switch to Arthur’s side, so that the king isn’t dishonored.... (full context)
Book 13
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...but they brothers have kept her younger sister. In the morning Galahad learns that Gawaine, Gareth, and Uwaine have slain the brothers. (full context)
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...to find Galahad, but a monk says that Galahad is pure while Gawaine is sinful. Gareth comes riding in, and they embrace. They depart the next morning and find Uwaine, who... (full context)
Book 18
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...knights arrive, and the battle begins: Gawaine and Bors win the first day’s prize, though Gareth and Palomides also do well. (full context)
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...Gawaine, Agravaine, Gaheris, and Palomides. Arthur is angry, and calls together knights to fight back. Gareth disguises himself and performs well: Launcelot marvels, not recognizing him. (full context)
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...knight with a gold sleeve, and the knights next to him must be Lavaine and Gareth. After the horn is blown, the king rides after Launcelot, and tells him how well... (full context)
Book 20
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...sleep with the queen, and for them to all know it and do nothing. Gawaine, Gareth, and Gaheris say they will not continue such talk, but Mordred agrees with Agravaine, who... (full context)
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Chapter 8 Arthur tells Gawaine, Gaheris, and Gareth to prepare Guenever for the fire. Gawaine refuses to assist in such a shameful death.... (full context)
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Chapter 9 Arthur swoons from sorrow at hearing of the death of Gaheris and Gareth, crying that his fellowship is broken. He asks the other knights not to tell Gawaine... (full context)
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...of all the times he saved her for Arthur’s sake. Launcelot says he regrets killing Gareth and Gaheris. Gawaine cries that he is a liar, and will war against him for... (full context)