Dr. Marilea Bramer, Philosophy, will present at a Philosophy for All Fargo-Moorhead event Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Plains Art Museum Boardroom. The topic of her presentation is “Were Arthur and Lancelot Really Friends? A Kantian Analysis.”
An integral part of the King Arthur legend as told by Sir Thomas Malory is the love triangle between King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and the knight Lancelot. Indeed, part of the tragedy of the King Arthur legend is that Arthur loses his wife Guinevere, and his best knight and friend Lancelot, which is the beginning of the end of his reign and the Golden Age of his kingdom, Camelot. But were Arthur and Lancelot really friends? Using Kant’s description of friendship, I conclude that Arthur and Lancelot were not friends. Additionally, the reasons why their relationship fails to be a friendship has consequences for all relationships between individuals of unequal power. Thus, though Arthur tragically loses his best knight, his wife, and his kingdom, we can console ourselves with the thought that he does not also lose his best friend at the same time.