Lancelot du Lac

Illustration of Lancelot’s and Guinevere’s escape, from page 278 of The Boy’s King Arthur

Lancelot du Lac is the son of a minor king in the French region of Brittany.  Lancelot travels to England as a young man and becomes King Arthur’s greatest knight.

Lancelot in Battle, from a Medieval Text.

Lancelot also becomes King Arthur’s best-friend.  He also falls in love with Arthur’s wife, Guinevere.  The fallout after their relationship is disclosed by Arthur’s son, Mordred, leads to a series of events that ends with the fall of Camelot and the death of Arthur.

Lancelot is almost always portrayed as noble and chivalrous, and his inner struggle between his feelings for Guinevere and his moral code feature prominently in many stories (the most in-depth treatment of Lancelot’s inner conflict is probably in The Ill-Made Knight by T.H. White).

In almost all Arthurian literature, Lancelot is also deeply conflicted because he cares so much about Arthur, which makes the love triangle more poignant.

Lancelot has been played by many actors, including Richard Gere and Ioan Gruffold.

Ioan Gruffold as Lancelot in King Arthur (2004).

Santiago Cabrera currently plays Lancelot on the BBC TV show Merlin.

Santiago Cabrera as Lancelot on Merlin.

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