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The Once and Future King is a novel written by T.H White in between 1938 and 1941. The book chronicles the life of King Arthur and his rule as a king. White uses the teachings of the novel as his personal view of an ideal society. He reinterprets the events with a renewed meaning of a world enduring the World War II. It shows White’s illustration of King Arthur’s life and death, his promises and the eventual demise. When King Arthur assumed the throne, he attempted to reduce violence using the knowledge he had learnt. During this time, there was looming war in Britain and much critique on warfare and government policies.
The story begins in the last years of King Uther Pendragons’ rule. The first part chronicles King Arthur’s rising, his rivalry, trainings, and friendship with foster brother Kay. It also focuses on Merlyn, a wizard who could tell the future of Arthur. He teaches him how to be a good king by turning him into different kinds of animals such as fish, ant, badger, and goose. Merlyn instills in Arthur the concept that a just reason for war is to avoid another person from engaging into war and that modern-day government and leaders exemplify the aspects of the rule of might. Merlyn terrifies Arthur with his thoughts about life. He engages him in different setups showing him different approaches towards leadership. The wizard’s intention is to teach Arthur about his type of thinking and make him understand what is wrong and what is right. He teaches Arthur that the point of ruling is to make peace and order. The illustration with a fish shows Arthur that power is the most important thing. Merlyn displays to Arthur how wrong the fish creature is. He wants to make him realize that power is not everything. Merlyn shows him the ants. The ants unanimously agree that might make right because they believe if they can overpower their enemies, they can live right. As a result, the ants spend all their lives fighting enemies and getting angry if they are defeated (White 67). In the following lesson, Lyo-Lyok teaches Arthur her views on war and power struggles. To her it is senseless to empower the enemies. Arthur being a knight thinks it is okay to fight.
“Arthur tries to apply force and might in removing the sword. He realizes that he cannot do it. He draws all his power and knowledge that he has learned through the animal experiences. He removes the sword easily just because he is the biggest and the strongest but this time he has a better understanding of secret powers taught by Merlyn (White 109)”. Merlyn makes him realize that though it is good that he is the king engage in wars and have people obey him, it is morally wrong to use might to influence his command. Finally, he decides that he will use his power to change things so that other leaders and followers may not use their power and wealth to cause harm to the weaker ones.
Arthur pursues to unite the whole of Britain to stand under one ruler and to reform the knighthood and make I more meaningful. He has already learnt that right makes might and that good deeds can be more powerful. Arthur is converted from a war-motivated ruler into a good and just leader. The novel features the themes of betrayal, envy, evil, shame, and death. Arthur is a political innovator and a great king not by his strength but because of his triumphant translation of Merlyn’s morals and teachings in his system of governance. The themes on this novel present fundamental ideas in today’s systems of governance. From the experience with the peaceful geese, the war like ants, the wise badger, and the power hungry pike, Arthur understands the concept of might and right. Write implies that contemporary civilizations are based on the concept of using force (might) to instigate justice in the political system. Arthur’s efforts are undone by internal tensions and the betrayal by Mordred. This implies that if justice is dependent on force obstacles and setbacks are certain to occur.
Different modes of governance were used in this period. They include fascism, communism, and capitalism. World leaders have applied these methods of leadership to promote their rule. Most of these methods aimed for social alienation in racial or economic lines. World super powers apply this concept to drive their policies and move their agendas. It includes physical use of force, sanctions, and threats to the poorer nations. This does not only concentrate on political issues but aspects of pollution, boundary controls, weapon possession, and racial wars. The Americas war on Iraq was meant to overthrow Dictator Saddam Hussein and to stop him from producing the supposed weapons of mass destruction. They ransacked the entire countries looking for the weapons. In the process, lives were lost and properties of vast amounts destroyed. This invasion was only possible because the American government had all the mighty and support it needed from itself. As a supper power, consultation was between other powerful nations and not with the victims. The war has led to deep contrast between the west and the east leading to the likelihood of more wars in the future.
The debate on climate change is another example whereby western nations want to gag the freedom of the poorer nations by making them to regulate carbon emissions. This is detrimental to the economies of these nations but they have to conform to the many regulations designed by the west failure of which they may face economic and political sanctions.
Many world governments have continued to invest in military strength as opposed to better standards of living, infrastructure development, and other development initiatives. More tax money is used in weaponry and ammunition and nations brag of their strong armies that can crush the enemy and sometimes the entire world.