Lesson Plans Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur

Arthur Pendragon
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A great tournament is to take place.

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Among the knights competing are Sir Ector and his son, Sir Kay. He tells Arthur to find one for him.

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Arthur recalls seeing the sword in the stone and runs to retrieve it for his adoptive brother. When Ector realizes what sword Arthur is carrying, he reveals to Arthur that his real father was Uther Pendragon and that Arthur is, in fact, the rightful heir to the throne.

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Arthur is crowned, and, shortly after, Merlin introduces himself to the young king. He informs Arthur that he has a deadly and mortal enemy in Morgana le Fay, his half-sister. Soon, Arthur must defend his throne and prove that he is worthy of leading Camelot and England. Before long, Arthur meets and immediately falls in love with a princess, Guinevere.

Merlin warns that this beauty will be his ultimate downfall, and that of Camelot, should he marry her. Arthur is unswayed from loving her and eventually, they are married. She is hailed as the fairest lady of the land. Before the marriage, Merlin takes the young Arthur to meet the Lady of the Lake who possesses Excalibur, a magical sword, forged in the land of Avalon. After Arthur takes Excalibur, Merlin gives him a magical scabbard in which to sheath the blade.

It has the power to keep harm from Arthur for as long as he wears it.

Mythology EXPLAINED: King Arthur and Excalibur [Arthurian Legend l Folklore]

As a marriage present, Guinevere's father gave an ornate, round table. At it, all of the mighty knights who serve the king can come together. It is so large that there are places enough for a hundred and fifty men to sit.

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As knights became worthy enough to sit at the table, their names magically appeared on the backs of a chair. There was one seat though, at which none could sit. He warned Arthur to be careful with those he loved most, for they were the ones who would hurt him most.

Soon after, a baby boy was left at the castle. Arthur and Guinevere decided to foster the child and call him Mordred. Though they did not know it, Mordred was the son of Arthur, his child from a night when he had fallen under an enchantment of Morgana and her evil, sorceress sisters. No other knight had been able to pull the shard from the wound. He swore to defend Guinevere at all costs, and she allowed him to be her champion, giving him a scarf as a token of her appreciation and affection.

Activities for this lesson take nearly three class periods to complete. Students engage in independent reading, summarizing events in a graphic organizer, and answering comprehension questions. I introduce the lesson by telling students that in our study of the hero's journey, which we have explored as reflecting the human experience in prior selections, such as Beowulf and the Iliad, King Arthur is an important figure in Western culture.

While we discuss how the knight in the Wife of Bath's Tale does not represent the code of chivalry, I offer King Arthur as a heroic figure who learns the true meaning of honor. Even though his kingdom of Camelot values honor, he must learn about honor through his own personal journey. Teachers may decide to locate a similar text online.

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Since we have studied some less than honorable characters in The Canterbury Tales, such as the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner, I tell students that I want to give them a point of reference regarding honor, integrity, and the human experience prior to exploring the tragic hero in Macbeth and Hamlet.

I distribute the story Story Handout: "The Legend of King Arthur" , a graphic organizer, and review questions to students.


To facilitate their work, I do the following:. By exploring the literature this way, students can focus on what happens in the text and verify their understanding prior to answering the review questions that check their comprehension. That way, if they need to return to the text for clarification, their completed graphic organizer will make the process more efficient. Students engage in independent work today; they will also have time to finish the assignment Student Work: The Legend of King Arthur next class.

Empty Layer. Some students may find the language difficult, but the play rewards both close reading and dramatic performance. I would recommend this play for late elementary and junior high students. Crossley-Holland, Kevin. Illustrated by Peter Malone. This text is a bit different from works listed above. While the previous entries are purely narrative, this book is an encyclopedia-like guide rendered specifically for children; it contains not only Arthurian entries but also sections on related aspects of the medieval world.

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Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur Lesson Plans include daily lessons, fun activities, essay topics, test/quiz questions, and more. Everything you need to teach. Immediately download the Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur summary, chapter-by- chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans.

Each item includes a synopsis and brief historical information, sometimes punctuated by illustrations or quotations. The Arthurian material is drawn from a wide variety of sources giving particular emphasis to Celtic material and features relatively obscure content like Culhwch and Olwen, Sir Bedivere, Marie de France, and the Questing Beast.

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More general medieval topics include the Crusades, troubadours, courtly love, food, clothing, and even heraldry. The punchy combination of fact, anecdote, and image makes this text an appealing guide for beginners in Arthurian lore. I suggest teachers use this book for elementary school students. Although film offers an accessible and exciting medium for students to approach the Arthurian legends, Arthurian film varies greatly in quality. One should be cautious about using such films as accurate representations of medieval history. Rather, students should be reminded that all films and texts are adaptations of Arthurian stories which are themselves subjective interpretations.

Here, I have selected films and television shows, both well-known and more obscure, that appeal to a wide range of audiences.

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Some adapt specific texts in intelligent and thought-provoking ways; others, especially those geared for younger audiences, should serve as supplements to more substantial material. The film also explores the conflict between pagan beliefs and Christianity. Teachers should be aware that there is some nudity in the love scenes between Uther and Igraine. While the movie was highly acclaimed — even earning an Oscar nomination for best cinematography — it has not aged particularly well.

Students may find the language archaic, the costumes clunky, and the musical score overbearing. I would recommend it for junior high and high school students. The three protagonists — Arthur, Guenevere, and Lancelot — are all instantly likeable.


Alex is enraged to discover that not only has he come a long way for nothing but also that his mother had lied to him about the book, and he starts to hate her for that. Original illustrations by Daniel Carter Beard. Each entry includes an informative essay. The unifying theme between almost all the tales is love: romantic, passionate, consummated, but also loves forbidden, denied, and lost. Fun Activities. As a child gifted with second sight, she is taken from her family by Vivienne, the Lady of the Lake, to train as a priestess of Avalon.

Arthur is winningly uncertain, idealistic, and empathetic throughout — a king who escapes to the greenwood to work out his pre-wedding jitters, who thinks up the novel concept of Might for Right, and who is capable of dignified sacrifice. The second act comes alive when the ill-intentioned Mordred arrives at court, determined to destroy Arthur.

Teachers should be warned that the film is three hours long, and could possibly be broken up into multiple viewings or taught in excerpts. I would recommend teaching this film with either Malory or White to junior high students and older. The Sword in the Stone. Wolfgang Reitherman.

Walt Disney Productions, Despite its whimsy, the film does portray several Arthurian characters — young Arthur, Merlin, Ector, Kay, and Pellinore — with some accuracy. The film is appropriate for all ages, although very young students may find certain scenes frightening.

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The Fisher King. Terry Gilliam. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Guilt-ridden, he tries to help Parry win Lydia, a shy and socially-awkward bookstore accountant with whom Parry is smitten. But whenever Parry begins to show signs of confidence, he is haunted by a terrifying hallucination of a Red Knight, which eventually reduces Parry into a catatonic state. While it is rated R for language, violence, and nudity, high school students should not find it particularly offensive or frightening.

Teachers should preface the movie with some background material in quests for the Holy Grail or Perceval romances. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.