A most important female symbol in the Arthurian myths, Guinevere is betrothed to Arthur early in his career. He later sends Sir Lancelot to bring her to Camelot, and although Guinevere and Lancelot fell in love on the return journey, upon reaching Camelot she fulfills her duty and marries Arthur, yet continues the affair.
Neither the Queen nor the Knight is able or willing to leave the other; their love divides the kingdom and is blamed for the downfall of the chivalric Round Table society.
Guinevere does have her defenders. William Morris (who designed the stained glass illustration in this post) is the first to give the Queen her own voice in his poetry, thus beginning a tradition that is continued in Sara Teasdale's poem "Guenevere," Dorothy Parker's "Guinevere at Her Fireside," and Wendy Mnookin's collection, "Guenever Speaks."
It is possible to go deeper into the meaning of Guinevere, especially in the context of feminist thought. Some studies use her as an archetype with parallels in Greek, Roman and Celtic mythology, an example of the female exerting free will and its consequences, or of the contrast of free will and subordination (Guinevere is sometimes compared to Persephone, captured for marriage in Hades, which results in winter dominating the earth, but who escapes for brief times to enable the earth to experience spring and summer).
Accounts of Guinevere’s death vary. Some authors write that she withdrew to an abbey where she spent her final years.
And why did I blog on this today? Oh, because I wanted to. Pretty soon I'm going to have to write all kinds of things that I don't want to write so for now I want to be free, free, free!
Today's fragrance: Gres Cabaret, that perky citrusy-woodsy rose, in honor of J, who will soon receive her AOK packages in beautiful Florida. Land of velour jogging suits and perennial tans.