Lancelot is the central romance of the Vulgate Cycle, in which the chivalric elements in Arthur's court come to the fore. These chivalric elements contain the seeds of Arthur's destruction and the dissolution of the Round Table, as Lancelot's love for Guinevere undermines his bond to Arthur; the tension between love, prowess and loyalty is the undercurrent of the long romance which describes the exploits which he performs in her service. It also includes many stories which are chivalric adventures largely unrelated to the main theme, and uses the device of interweaving these stories to form a huge stream of narrative. This series of episodic pictures leads ultimately to the birth of Lancelot's son Galahad, who is destined to become the hero of the Grail. Parts three and four of Lancelot begin with the episode of the false Guinevere, in which Guinevere is accused of being an impostor; Lancelot is then abducted and imprisoned by Morgan le Fay, who out of hatred for Arthur intends to reveal their love to the king. When he escapes, Guinevere is abducted by Meleagant, and Lancelot has to rescue her.
In the course of these adventures, the Grail appears for the first time: Lancelot comes to the Burning Tomb, where he learns that his sins will prevent him from succeeding in the Grail Quest; and Gawain reaches the Grail Castle, but fails the test. For a full description of the Vulgate Cycle see the blurb for the complete set.
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