Word choice and word concentration in Malory's works.




Reynolds, Meredith Lynn, 1974-

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I shall examine specific instances of Malory’s word choice and word repetition in relation to three elements: the king, the knight, and the court. While each word represents a major value in or concept of the text as a whole, the concentration and repetition of the word in certain places within the text makes its use intriguing. I plan first to explore the concepts of advyce and counsel as applied to Arthur. The words appear in the highest concentration in The Tale of King Arthur and The Tale of the Noble King Arthur that Was Emperor Himself Through Dignity of His Hands and in The Book of Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere and The Most Piteous Tale of the Morte Arthur Saunz Guerdon. These tales deal specifically with Arthur’s rise to and fall from power; Malory focuses his audience’s attention on various scenes within these books to raise awareness of right and wrong counsel. Also important in Malory’s time is the relationship between shame and worship in relation to the knight. Many of the chivalric manuals of the age contained clear instructions on how to gain worship and avoid shame, concepts just as important to Malory’s audience as they were to Arthur’s knights. These two concepts are major values of The Works, with notable concentration within The Tale of Sir Gareth. Its subject-matter, the development of one of the best knights in Arthur’s court, has many ties to the chivalric manuals being published in Malory’s time. Consequently, finding similarities between this tale and contemporary texts in regards to worship and shame reveals its importance to Malory’s audience. The third element, the court, is large and unwieldy. As a result, I concentrate on the issue of speech made openly. The health and worship of the collective is essential to the health and worship of the individuals within. Therefore, assertions or declarations made openly of one’s own ability or the triumphs of others raise the worship of the entire group. Unfortunately, however, negative open speech also exists and can cause real damage if the accuser is acting for personal self-interest rather than for the health of the collective.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 204-212).


Malory, Thomas, Sir, 15th cent. -- Criticism and interpretation., Malory, Thomas, Sir, 15th cent. -- Language.