Now I have warned thee of thy vain glory and of thy pride, that thou hast many times erred against thy Maker. Beware of everlasting pain, for of all earthly knights I have most pity of thee, for I know well thou hast not thy peer on any earthy sinful man.
A recluse to Launcelot, 713
These words, spoken during the quest for the Sangreal, touch on Lancelot’s spiritual failings, and help to define the epic’s shift into a more Christian work. On the quest for the Sangreal, Lancelot has a hard time accepting the idea that he might not achieve his goal. After all, he has always been the world’s greatest knight. However, this pride is precisely what keeps him from fulfilling the goal. Finding the Sangreal requires spiritual fortitude, not just physical strength. The recluse’s words reveal to Lancelot that his best path is to repent of his sins. Redemption, another major theme of Le Morte d’Arthur, proves quite important to Lancelot’s story arc. Here, we see the beginning of Lancelot’s spiritual trial.