Analysis of The Mists of Avalon

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By: Olivia Spoon
Research Question
• Bradley’s retelling depicts how the
issue of chivalry, masculinity, and
the patriarchal system supported in
Middle Ages Christianity influences
the women of the Arthurian
narrative (McClain, 197).
Analysis
Analysis
• Mists of Avalon can be best
understood as a feminist
retelling of the Arthurian
narrative that depicts the
effects of the culture clash
between patriarchal and
matriarchal societies.
•
•
•
•
•
Arthur’s conception
Arthur’s rise as King
Formation of round table
Lancelot/Gwenhwyfar
Camelot’s fall
•
•
•
•
•
Igraine
Viviane/Morgaine
Morgaine
Gwenhwyfar
Morgaine
Christianity
• Domineering religion that
requires belief in one God
• Affirms patriarchal society
• Marriage
• Religious leaders
• Worship
Avalon (Celtic)
• Open religion that affirms
many gods
• Affirms matriarchal society
• Marriage
• Religious leaders
• Worship
Critique of Christianity
• Patricius (Camelot’s most
powerful Christian priest)
• His fundamentalism and
misogyny forcefully removes the
influence of Celtic tradition and
abuses the female characters
Critique of Celtic religion
• Viviane (also called Lady of
the Lake and High Priestess
of Avalon)
• Her loyalty to the Mother
Goddess and Avalon causes her
to use family without considering
their feelings or emotional
suffering
• Bradley’s juxtaposition of
matriarchal and patriarchal
traditions calls for coexistence
of both traditions, rather than
the two warring against one
another.
Conclusion
• Bradley, Marion Zimmer. The Mists of Avalon. New York: The
Ballatine Publishing Group, 1982. Print
• Fry, Carrol L. “’What God Doth the Wizard Pray to:’ NeoPagan Witchcraft and Fantasy Fiction.” Extrapolation. 31.4.
(1990): 334-347. Print.
• Malory, Thomas. New York: W.W. Norton & Compant, 2003.
Print.
• McClain, Lee Tobin. “Gender Anxiety in Arthurian Romance.”
Extrapolation. 38.3 (1997): 193-199. Print.
• Saunders, Corinne. “Religion and magic” The Cambridge
Companion to the Arthurian Legend. Ed. Elizabeth Archibald and
Ad Putter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 200. 201217. Print.
• Tobin, Lee Ann. “Why Change the Arthur Story? Marion Zimmer
Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon.” Extrapolation. 34.2 (1993): 147157 Print.
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