The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

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The Round Table Symbol Analysis

The Round Table Symbol Icon
In Book II, The Queen of Air and Darkness, Arthur devises the idea of the Round Table. The Round Table is integral to his concept of Might vs. Right; Arthur wants to find a way to harness the power of Might to ensure Right, so that violence is only ever committed to uphold justice. Fundamental to this idea is the Order of the Round Table—a sort of club where knights keep true to the values of justice and morality to be a part of the Order. The Round Table is conceived as a mechanism for maintaining equality between the knights and so they do not squabble over rank. The Round Table becomes a symbol throughout the novel for Arthur's idea of justice—its literal non-hierarchical form symbolizes Arthur's quest to uphold morality and dissolve the superficial, hierarchical system of chivalry.
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The Round Table Symbol Timeline in The Once and Future King

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Round Table appears in The Once and Future King. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2, Chapter 8
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
...Merlyn about his vision for the Order. Arthur decides the knights must sit at a round table , to prevent hierarchy, and that he will call them the Knights of the Round... (full context)
Book 3, Chapter 8
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Quest and The Holy Grail Theme Icon
...those he conquered to present themselves to Guenever instead. Lancelot then asks Arthur how the Round Table is; Arthur looks despairing: he confesses, he fears it is not working. Instead of the... (full context)
Book 4, Chapter 14
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
Might vs. Right Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
...his papers. He is tired; he has been broken by the recent two battles. The Round Table is now dispersed. He feels that he has failed the service Merlyn trained him for—to... (full context)