Beyond the Mist: Ecopaganism, Feminism and Female Agency in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon

Research output: Other contribution

Abstract

Whilst superficially The Mists of Avalon appears to be wholly devoted to a feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend, it is evident through close examination that the female characters are far from able to exert their own power, on their own terms, throughout the narrative. This paper challenges the assumption of character agency within The Mists of Avalon, and examines two instances in which divine agency is subverted: first, that which is driven by mortal desire, and second, that of the personified deity acting through human and environmental mediums. This paper asserts that in acting upon the authority of this higher power, or under the enchantment of another human, characters such as Morgaine, the Merlin, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot are removed from the retribution that would befall them, had the actions been their own and not motivated by external factors. This paper finally asserts that this lack of ownership of individual actions is reflected within the dark heart of Camelot and results in the collective downfall of King Arthur, his knights, the priestesses of Avalon and Gwenhwyfar.
Original languageEnglish
TypeHonours Dissertation
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018

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Feminism
Authority
Mortals
Arthurian Legend
King Arthur
Downfall
Divine Agency
Retribution
Enchantment
Deity
Lancelot
Retellings
Ownership
Female Characters
Knight

Cite this

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title = "Beyond the Mist: Ecopaganism, Feminism and Female Agency in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon",
abstract = "Whilst superficially The Mists of Avalon appears to be wholly devoted to a feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend, it is evident through close examination that the female characters are far from able to exert their own power, on their own terms, throughout the narrative. This paper challenges the assumption of character agency within The Mists of Avalon, and examines two instances in which divine agency is subverted: first, that which is driven by mortal desire, and second, that of the personified deity acting through human and environmental mediums. This paper asserts that in acting upon the authority of this higher power, or under the enchantment of another human, characters such as Morgaine, the Merlin, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot are removed from the retribution that would befall them, had the actions been their own and not motivated by external factors. This paper finally asserts that this lack of ownership of individual actions is reflected within the dark heart of Camelot and results in the collective downfall of King Arthur, his knights, the priestesses of Avalon and Gwenhwyfar.",
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year = "2018",
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AB - Whilst superficially The Mists of Avalon appears to be wholly devoted to a feminist retelling of the Arthurian legend, it is evident through close examination that the female characters are far from able to exert their own power, on their own terms, throughout the narrative. This paper challenges the assumption of character agency within The Mists of Avalon, and examines two instances in which divine agency is subverted: first, that which is driven by mortal desire, and second, that of the personified deity acting through human and environmental mediums. This paper asserts that in acting upon the authority of this higher power, or under the enchantment of another human, characters such as Morgaine, the Merlin, Gwenhwyfar and Lancelot are removed from the retribution that would befall them, had the actions been their own and not motivated by external factors. This paper finally asserts that this lack of ownership of individual actions is reflected within the dark heart of Camelot and results in the collective downfall of King Arthur, his knights, the priestesses of Avalon and Gwenhwyfar.

M3 - Other contribution

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