The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King Book 3, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Sir Bliant leaves, King Pelles hears a noise in the street: a wild man is running through the village streets straight to the castle gates. King Pelles goes outside where a crowd has gathered around the wild man; he asks him if he is Sir Lancelot, but the man only roars aggressively. King Pelles orders him to be locked up.
It seems fated that the place that ultimately led to Lancelot's madness—where he was seduced by Elaine—is the place in which he is finally found after years wandering through England without a mind.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon
The following week, the King's nephew Castor is being knighted. At the celebrations, King Pelles drunkenly orders all the men to put on the new gowns he had bought for the occasion. He demands that someone bring the wild man to the Great Hall. King Pelles places his own gown on the shoulders of the wild man. Suddenly, Sir Lancelot, thin, unshaven and dirty, stands straight and regal in the middle of the hall and the sea of Nobles part for him as he walks out.
The inevitability which follows Arthur does, to a certain extent, follow both Lancelot and Guenever. It is not simply that Lancelot is found at the place which caused him to lose his mind, but that Pelles chose to drape him with a coat—thus exposing his regal bearing—just as Wart was revealed to be king by lifting the sword from the stone. The placing of the coat on Lancelot's shoulders also symbolically can be seen as society being draped back over Lancelot. He had escaped from the shame and guilt of society by turning wild, but now society returns to him and not only is he recognized, but he seems to recognize himself.
Themes
Chivalry, Satire & Medieval Life Theme Icon
Fate (Time) Theme Icon