Written in an era where bad leadership had brought the world to the brink of destruction, T.H. White did what many others before him did: he took a very famous legend and crafted it to fit the concerns of the 20th century. The Once and Future King is divided into four books. Each book deals with a distinctive period of King Arthur’s life and important lessons for readers: the characteristics of a good leader and the importance of education; what happens when the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons; the importance of imperfection and finding redemption in God; and finally, the hope that eventually good will overcome evil in the world as long as the flame of goodness is passed down to future generations.
Symbols and themes in The Once and Future King by TH White - The Queen of Air and Darkness Themes and Symbols
THE ROUND TABLE
THE ROUND TABLE
THE VICTORIAN FOXHUNT
BATTLE OF BEDEGRAINE
The Round Table represents the equality of civil law that Arthur is trying to establish in his kingdom. The Round Table eliminates the power struggle between knights and puts them all on equal footing. This Round Table allows Arthur to establish an effective system of defense against Force Majeur.
The Victorian Foxhunt is something that Merlyn discusses to illustrate the frivolity of war to Arthur, in an effort to persuade him that there is always another answer other than war. In these cases, it is the common soldier who is hurt, while the nobles fight for sport or spite.
The Battle of Bedegraine is where Arthur makes his decision to no longer fight wars to impose his ideas on others. He throws out the rules of battle in order to win a decisive victory so that he can begin to enact his system of civil laws. In addition, this is where he comes up with the idea for the Round Table.
Queen Morgause represents the sins of the father visited on the sons; she enacts her revenge on Arthur for his father Uther's sin of raping her mother and killing her father. Morgause's union with Arthur leads to the birth of Mordred, who ultimately brings about Arthur's downfall.