First Knight

“There are laws that enslave men, and then there are laws that set them free.” -
                 Sir Sean Connery as King Arthur. 

First Knight tells the story of the love affair between Lancelot and Gwenevere 
in the time of King Arthur.  The problem that drives the film is that King Arthur 
himself happens to be married to Gwenevere, and Lancelot happens to be his 
first knight.    

It all makes for a very good story filled with much by way of nobility, action 
and the ideals of Christian ethic.  All these dimensions that make the great 
Christian King (and society) are juxtaposed alongside the passion, the pride and  
the self indulgence that drives the enemies of Camelot.  

Interestingly enough this chaotic dimension of the human 
heart flows into Camelot through the character of Lancelot.  
He loves Gwenevere and Gwenevere loves him in return. 
They are both passionate for one another, yet moral 
obligations seem to constrain them both.  

Gwenevere is torn between as she puts it
 “her will and heart.” -  Her will chooses 
what is right - namely to marry Arthur who is noble 
and will protect her people.  But her heart chooses Lancelot, 
the strong, fearless warrior. 

Lancelot too is divided.  He desires complete freedom 
but at the cost of the joy and fulfilment that comes 
with taking up responsibility and giving one’s 
life away to others.  

In the end the “law” and the duties of nobility constrain 
them both.  Should they follow their feelings or their conscience?  

The law, which feels so oppressive at times, is meant 
to help us do what is right in spite of selfish 
(or destructive)  desires inside us to do the contrary.
Adultery will not lead to a peaceful and serene life.  
It breaks trust and hurts everyone involved.  

This is what so much of our society seems to forget.  
To follow a law can feel oppressive, but it also can be 
immensely liberating. To follow our conscience 
makes us more human by helping us to choose and continue 
to choose what is right in the eyes of God.  

In the end the law, which is written on all hearts, 
will guide us back to God - who is the source of 
all love, fulfilment, and joy in this life.  

Perhaps this was the underlying problem of both Lancelot 
and Gwenevere.  They thought they could be happy without God.

Raj Vijayakumar is working at a retreat centre in Montreal.

  • Max Oliva
    Posted at 19:47h, 10 March Reply

    Very nicely put. Thank you.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 21:05h, 10 March Reply

    Thank you Raj!

Post A Comment

Subscribe to igNation

Subscribe to receive our latest articles delivered right to your inbox!