The legend of Lancelot
Lancelot is the inexhaustible subject of many novels. Millions of verses narrate the misadventures of this brave hero, navigating between glory and triumph but also suffering betrayal and fall.
This leading fictional character is the most famous knight of the literary Middle Ages dethroning Perceval, Tristan, and Gawain. He even steals the show from King Arthur.
The two largest texts evoking Lancelot were written in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The first to make Lancelot the main character of one of his novels is Chrétien de Troyes with “Le Chevalier de la charrette” (1177-1181), written in verse. Then, around 1220, came the Lancelot du Lac, a grandiose cycle consisting of several novels and bearing the name of Lancelot-Grail. This prose text, whose author remains unknown, composes an immense sum: the life of Lancelot and the kingdoms where he lives is told in many details.
History of Lancelot
King Ban of Benoic and Elaine gave birth to Lancelot. At the death of the king, Claudas having seized his lands, Lancelot is kidnapped by the Lady of the Lake, a fairy, who raises him away from any civilization. During this period, Arthur erected his kingdom and built Camelot. Lancelot, at the age of eighteen, entered the court of King Arthur. Indeed, after being wounded, he is discovered at the edge of the forest and brought back by the queen to the castle. He must then demonstrate his strength during a major tournament. Lancelot performs many feats, the best known being the crossing of the bridge of the Sword which brings him to the domain of Meleagant, the kidnapper of Guinevere. The poet Chrétien de Troyes transforms the meeting between the queen and the young man into a love story that will become the symbol of courtly love.
However, this love is adulterous and many enemies of the kingdom will do everything to prove it.
Lancelot has an illustrious descendant, Gilead, who will become a Knight of the Round Table and who will be the one who will come closest to the Grail. However, this birth is, in a way, cursed, because it is consistent with the philtre that Guinevere, in the guise of the daughter of King Pelles, made Lancelot drink to conceive Gilead.
Lancelot then experienced madness and even imprisonment. Anxious to preserve his love, however, he saves Guinevere, who has been burned at the stake for adultery, and enters a convent.