The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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Queen Morgause Character Analysis

Morgause is an evil witch and one of Arthur's half-sisters. She is sister to Morgan Le Fay and Queen Elaine (different from the Elaine who seduces Lancelot), and mother to Gawaine, Gaheris, Gareth, Agravaine and Mordred. She seduces Arthur when he is very young and gives birth to his son, Mordred. Morgause is eventually murdered by her own son Agravaine after he finds her in bed with a young knight.

Queen Morgause Quotes in The Once and Future King

The The Once and Future King quotes below are all either spoken by Queen Morgause or refer to Queen Morgause. 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:
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Ace Books edition of The Once and Future King published in 1987.
Book 2, Chapter 13 Quotes

The way to use a Spancel was this. You had to find the man you loved while he was asleep. Then you had to throw it over his head without waking him, and tie it in a bow…Queen Morgause stood in the moonlight, drawing the Spancel through her fingers.

Related Characters: King Arthur or Wart, Queen Morgause
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

As Morgause prepares to return to England, she is sure to bring the supernatural Spancel, a magical piece of human flesh which can make a man “fall in love” with the woman who wields it and places it around his head. Morgause even sinisterly runs her fingers over the spancel -- an act which visually suggests that her spancel will have a terrible symbolic significance in the story. Antagonists such as Morgause (and the later Mordred) often act with such clearly malicious intentions; the novel certainly gives us plainly evil figures, in addition to contradictory persons such as Lancelot, who destabilize this binary between good and evil.

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Queen Morgause Character Timeline in The Once and Future King

The timeline below shows where the character Queen Morgause appears in The Once and Future King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 3
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Kay, Arthur and Merlyn are riding back from hunting. Kay asks Merlyn about Queen Morgause and what the Gaelic revolt is about. Merlyn replies that wars are never fought for... (full context)
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...war is going to happen; there is going to be a war because of Queen Morgause and because King Uther killed her father, the Earl of Cornwall. Arthur considers—he says that... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 5
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Queen Morgause's four children are visiting Mother Morlan—an old, lady currently housing one of the Irish Saints.... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
However, Queen Morgause has set her cap at the visitors. The four boys had seen Morgause and the... (full context)
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...mangled head on a bench outside their mother's door. However, on walking past it, Queen Morgause is so distracted by Sir Grummore that she sees neither the head, nor her children. (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 13
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
...England the next day to be married. Inside the castle, King Lot—returned from battle—sleeps while Morgause stands silently at the window holding a strip in her hands. She is to go... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 14
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
...beauty in front of him, wearing a crown. The spansel has worked its magic and Morgause seduces Arthur. Nine months later, Queen Morgause will have a baby boy by her half-brother... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 4
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
...Arthur tells them the story of how, before he met Guenever, he was seduced by Morgause (also his half-sister, although he did not know it) who then had his son. People... (full context)