Середньовічна романтика. “Король Артур і лицарі круглого столу”

Topic: Medieval Romance. ” King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table”.

Objectives: to get Ss aware of Medieval romance and  significance of  a code of chivalry; to develop Ss’ listening skills; to practice  scanning and skimming

Aids / Materials : a record of a romance performed by A. Malinin, Longman Exams Dictionary, HO1” Grid for a chart”, HO2 ” Text for scanning”, HO3” Extracts from ‘Le  Morte d’ Arthur”, the text for listening comprehension. On the Bb : the proper  names from the text for listening comprehension.


Warming up. Ss listen to a romance performed by A. Malinin.

  1. What is this song about? What do we call such songs in Ukrainian?

S1. It is about love.

 S2. We call them “романс»

  1. What word do Ukrainians use to describe somebody’s love affair?
  2. Роман.
  3. Right you are. As you se both words have the same root, both deal with love stories. The wordromancecan be found in the English language as well. Try to guess the meaning of this word in English. / Ss give their predictions /

Introduction of the topic of the lesson.

  1. Let’s look up in the Longman Exams Dictionary the definition for the wordromanceand check whether your predictions were right./ Ss read the definitions?

S1. An exciting and often short relationship between two people who love each other.

S2. Love or a feeling of being in love.

S3. The feeling of excitement and adventure that is related to a particular place, activity.

S4. A story about the love between two people.

S5. A story that has brave characters and exciting events: a Medieval romance.

  1. A Medieval romance is a form of literature we are going to dedicate to our lesson today. The Medieval Period in the English literature lasted from 1066 till 1485 and developed several new literary genres. Medieval romance is one of the most important of them. It’s well-known that the development of culture in any country is closely connectedwith the main historical events in this or that country. Certain periods in the life of society demand certain forms of lit satisfy the needs of different classes. Let’s see what changes in the Anglo-Saxon society caused the development of romance and some other genres. Scan the text ” Medieval Britain” and fill in the chart ” The Consequences of the Norman Invasion”.

Scanning of the text ” Medieval Britain”

  The culture of the early British society changed greatly under the influence of Christianity. In the 6th century Christian monks began coming from Rome to Britain. They landed in Kent and built the first church in the town of Canterbury. Monks lived in monasteries which became important centres of intellectual, artistic and literary life. They brought to England religious books written in Latin. Besides they  copied down much of the local oral literature often adding the Christian themes.

    In 1066 William the Conqueror, a Norman king, came from France to Britain and within five years he invaded the whole England. He established feudalism in the country. It is an economic system based on the exchange of power and land for loyalty. This system resulted in the formation of three classes- nobility, clergy and serfs. William the Conqueror and his barons spoke  the Norman dialect of the French language. The clergy used Latin. The largest class of serfs and common people spoke their Anglo-Saxon dialects. So during the following 200 years communication went on in three languages.

   During the Medieval period different classes enjoyed different literary developments. For the aristocracy, romances became a popular literary form. Literature developed by the clergy focused on drama-mystery plays, miracles,and morality plays. They were used to entertain the non-reading public while presenting religious teachings. The common people who could not read and write took pleasure in listening to ballads about the adventures of ordinary people and legendary heroes.

Task: Scan the text and fill in the grid. 

Elicitation of the required information.

  1. What influenced the development of the Medieval Britain?

S1. Christianity and Norman invasion.

  1. What economic system did William the Conqueror establish in the country?

S2. Feudalism.

  1. Whatwas feudalism based on?

S3. The king gave out large estates to the main nobles who had to protect him with his warriors.

  1. What classes appeared in the society?

S4. Nobles, clergy, common people and serfs.

  1. What languages did they speak?

S5. Nobles spoke the Norman dialect of French, churchmen spoke Latin, while common people spoke their Anglo-Saxon dialects.

  1. What literary formsdid the classes enjoy?

S6. The aristocracy enjoyed romances about knights, their adventures and love stories. Common people couldn’t read, so they liked listening to ballads, and the churchmen developed drama to entertain the non-reading public attracting them to religious teachings.

 Reference to Ss’ general knowledge.

  1. As we’ve already mentioned the main characters of Medieval romances were knights. No doubt, you’ve heard this word as knights are the subject of many films and books. Try to remember what you know about knights and createa concept map.


  1. Summing up all that is mentioned in this concept map try to define the meaning of the word” knight”.
  2. It is a well-trained strong warrior who had to protect his king and the weak.
  3. Exactly. During the MiddleAges  knights were a well-trained group of armed warriors who were given land in exchange for military service to the king. They had to follow their strict code of behaviour called a code of chivalry. According to this   code every knight was expected to be brave, gallant, to behave with respect and politeness toward everyone, to protect the weak, especially women, to treat his enemy fairly and to be merciful.

Input on historic background

  1. The first tales in verse praising the bravery and gallantry of noble nights originated in France. They were brought to England by Medieval poets who came from Francewith the Norman conquerors.

   A number of romances were based on Celtic legends , especially those  about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. King Arthur is the national hero of the Celts. Legends about him grew to include supernatural events. In the 12th century a Norman poet named Wace completed the first work that mentioned King Arthur and his Knights  of the Round Table. In the 15th century  Sir Thomas Malory wrote the most complete romance in prose entitled ” Le Morte d’Arthur” ( Old French for ” Death of Arthur”). Its plot is based on the cycle of French romances of the 13-14th centuries. The action takes place in England. The romance describes the whole life of King Arthur from his birth to death.


  1. We are going to listen to the extract from the first chapter of the romance by Sir Thomas Malory “Le Morte d’Arthur”.

 Phonetic drills: Listening to the text you’ll hear the names written on the blackboard.  Please repeat them after me:                                   Uther Pendragon, Lady Igraine, Merlin, Sir Ector, Arthur, Kay.

While-listening task: Listen to the text and tell what the relations were between the people mentioned in the text.

How Arthur Was Born and Became King

     It happened in the days of Uther Pendragon when he was king of all England. There was a mighty duke of Cornwall. King Uther fell in love with the wife of the duke and desired to have her love. So he waged war against the duke, but as the duke was well armed King Uther failed to drag him out of his biggest castle. Then for pure anger and love King Uther fell sick. Seeing that a noble knight, Sir Ulfius decided to bring a  magician named Merlin to cure the king. Merlin agreed to help King Uther to marry duchess Igraine if king swore to give Merlin their first son. King Uther agreed and Merlin helped him to get married to Lady Igraine. Soon they had a son. When the boy was three days, he was delivered to Merlin who brought him to a good knight Sir Ector. Sir Ector brought up Arthur as the boy was called together with his own son Kay.

    Then within two years King Uther fell seriously ill. All his barons came to Merlin in great sorrow and asked for his advice. The magician had no remedy for their king but he made King Uther speak before his death. King Uther announced that his son Arthur should become king after him. And with these words he died. After his death many lords wanted to be king as nobody knew anything about Arthur. So Merlin went to the Archbishop of Canterburry and advised him to send for all the lords of the land, so that they should come to London by Christmas. When everybody came to London , there appeared a great stone in the yard of the church, and in the middle of the stone a sword was stuck, and the letters were written in gold ” Who pulls out this sword is king born of all England”.

    When the lords saw the sword, some of them tried to pull it out but failed. Then the Archbishop invited every man who was willing to try to pull out the sword. They organized a great joust(tournament) in London. All the great knights arrived there. Sir Ector came to the joust with Sir Kay and Arthur. The two young men decided to joust too but Sir Kay happened to have left his sword at home. As Arthur saw the sword in the stone when they passed  by the church, he went there, pulled the sword out of the stone and brought it to Sir Kay. When Sir Ector saw the

sword, he could not believe Arthur had pulled it out of the stone. So he asked Arthur to  show how he had done it. Arthur demonstrated it to him and  many barons. A lot of lords got angry and refused to accept Arthur as their king. The matter was put off several times.

   At last when Arthur pulled the sword out in front of  all the lords and commons, all the commons cried at once, ”We will have Arthur as our king, and we will kill all those who are against him”. After that Arthur was made knight and crowned.


S1. Uther Pendragon was Arthur’s father, Lady Igraine was his mother.

S2. Sir Ector was Arthur’s foster-father, Sir Kay, the son of Sir Ector , was his foster-brother.

S3. Merlin was a magician who helped Arthur to become king after his father’s death.


Skim the extracts from the romance ” Le Morte d’Arthur” by Sir Thomas Malory and match them with the pictures below

King Arthur    and the Knights of the Round Table

  1. Once King Arthur and Merlin rode  together, and Arthur had no sword, for he had lost his in a battle with a knight. They rode till they came to a lake. In. the middle of the lake Arthur saw an arm clothed in white, the hand of which held a fair sword. He also saw a damosel going upon the lake.

“Who is that?” asked Arthur.

“That is the Lady of the Lake”, said Merlin.” And there is a rock in this lake in which there are many riches; and this damosel will come to you and you must speak well to her, and then she will give you this sword”.

  1. One day King Arthur said to Merlin: “My barons will not let me have any rest until I take a wife. I love Guenever, the daughter of King Leodegrance of the land of Cameliard, who holds in his house the Round Table which you told me he had from my father Uther. And this damosel is the most beautiful and fair   lady that I know living.

King Arthur’s desire was granted, and Merlin went to King Leodegrance and told   him of     Arthur’s   desire to marry his daughter. King Leodegrance was glad to marry his daughter to so worthy a king. And so he delivered his daughter Guenever to Merlin, and they rode with great splendor by water and by land till they came to London.

  1. King Leodegrance said: “I shall give King Arthur what he wishes. But he has lands enough and needs none. So I shall send him a gift which will please him much more, for I shall give him the Round Table which Uther Pendragon gave me, and when every place is filled there must be one hundred and fifty knights at it. I have a hundred good knights myself, but fifty have been killed”.

When King Arthur heard of the coming of Guenever and the hundred knights with the Round Table,  he made great joy and asked Merlin to find fifty knights who are the noblest and bravest knights in all the land.

Soon Merlin found twenty-eight knights. Then the Bishop of Canterbury was called to bless the seats. And Merlin found letters of gold on every seat, and these letters told the names of the knights who were to sit there.

  1. Then the high feast was prepared and King Arthur was married to Guenever in Camelot in the church of  St. Stephen, with great solemnity. When every man was set after his degree, Merlin went to all knights of the Round Table and told them to sit still and not to move even if they saw a strange sight.

Very soon after that, a white hart ran into the hall and a white hound after him, and thirty couple of black hounds came running after them with a great cry. The hart went about the Round Table, and suddenly the white hound bit him and pulled out a piece, and the hart leapt a great leap and overthrew a knight that was sitting at the boardside; after which the knight arose, took the hound, went out, took his horse, and rode his way with the hound.

  1. Sir Gawaine rode on after the white hart and let three couple of greyhounds after him, which chased the hart into the castle, and in the castle they slew the hart

Suddenly a knight came out of a chamber. He killed two of the greyhounds and said: “O my white hart, I repent to see you dead, for my lady gave you to me, and I kept you badly”.

With these words he went into the chamber, armed himself, came out fiercely, and met with Sir Gawaine. They fought till blood ran down to their feet At last Sir Gawaine struck the knight so hard that he fell down and cried mercy, and prayed Sir Gawaine to save his life. But Sir Gawaine wanted to slay him for killing his hounds. He pulled off the knight’s helmet. But at that moment a lady ran out of the chamber and fell over the knight, and so Sir Gawaine struck off her head by misadventure.

” Alas,” said Gaheris who also was there, “that is shamefully done, that shame will never leave you. Also you should give mercy to them that ask mercy, for a knight without mercy is without honour”.

  1. When King Arthur got his death wound from Sir Mordred, he asked Sir Bedivere to take Excalibur, his good sword, go with it to that waterside and throw it as far into the water as he could.

 Sir Bedivere came again to the king and told him what he had seen. “Alas”, said the king, “help me reach that water”. Sir Bedivere took King Arthur upon his back and carried him to the waterside. And when they were at the waterside there was a little ship near the bank, with many fair ladies in it, and all of them had black hoods on, and wept when they saw King Arthur.

 After reading task:

Answer the following questions:

  1. How did the Round Table come to King Arthur?
  2. How many people could be seated at it?
  3. Why was it round?
  4. Do you think there were no disputes among knights?
  5. Can you suppose what  a little ship with fair ladies in black meant for King Arthur?

Summing up. Hometask.

  1. Today you’ve got aware of the vivid example of the Medieval romance written by Sir ThomasMalory. We’ve defined the termknight. Now you know what code of chivalry all the knights  were supposed to follow.
  2. Look through the extracts at home and find the proofs that the Knights of the Round Table lived up to that strict code of behaviour.
  3. Speak aboutthe rules of behaviour  your group of friends has. Do you have your code of chivalry? What personal

    qualities are most highly valued nowadays?   


  1. Goheen, Richard Craig. Literature and Language. English and World Literature.

McDougal, Littell & Company. Box 1667, Evanston, Illinois 60204,USA, 1992.

  1. Hecker M., Volosova T. English Literature. – Тернопіль: Видавництво Карп’юка, 2001
  2. Malory, Thomas. Le Morte d’Arthur. Обработка текста и комментарии

Н. А. Егуновой и Т. А. Ганф. Издательство “Просвещение”, Ленинград,