Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Character Sketch: Morgana LeFay Pendragon

(Note: this is not about Morgana from Merlin, but about the actual Arthurian legend)

     Queen, princess, sister, sorceress, priestess, lover, murderer, legend. Morgana LeFay Pendragon is a plethora of characteristics that has defined one of the most archetype feminists that was way before her time. Like with her counterpart, Guinevere, Morgana has been on both sides of the fence. She has been ultimate good and she has been ultimate evil. She has been Arthur's enemy, ally and lover. There has been a consistent love/hate stort between Merlin and Morgana and their own advantageous relationship is older than the knights of the Round Table. Yet, no matter what side Morgana is on, there is something about who she is that gives her character such longevity.

     Like I said above, Morgana is a feminist that was written in legend at a time where women were still being sold off to men in marriage. What sets Morgana apart is that she has never needed a man to survive. She is clever, witty, manipulative and even cruel. Yet within her extreme intelligence, Morgana has always had the capabilities to do the wrong thing for the right reason. In most legends she is bound by history and by rights the throne is rightfully hers, but she must first combat Arthur (her half brother) to obtain it. Morgana is usually portrayed as a sorceress who uses her magic for evil instead of for good. That how she and Merlin are most strongly opposed to one another. Merlin normally is seen using his magic as a necessity, but Morgana uses magic because she can.

      At times, one cannot help but pity Morgana. She is by rights a queen, but the preference primogeniture laws at the time prohibit her from taking what is hers. So, the question is, does Arthur rightfully take the throne because he is male conceived by magic or does Morgana rule because she is a natural blood heir, even though she is a woman? While Morgana craves power, she oftentimes craves something so much more. Love and a family. Deep within Morgana is the capability to love and that is often shown with the character of Mordred who is sometimes written as her own son or a child she cares for. Yet, Morgana chooses power and control over love which usually cuts her off from affection and familial happiness.

     While Morgana has been written and portrayed in every way imaginable, her one consistent attribute that always remains is her neverending strength. She remains standing when all around her fall, she never wavers in her beliefs (even when she may be wrong), she has never lives by men's rules and is passionate in her causes. In most cases, Morgana is more anti-hero than villain She has a lot of good reasons for doing what she does, but does that necessarily make it right? While the throne may rightfully be hers by birth, does that mean she will be a good queen? Morgana is a character that creates more questions than answers and is a woman that will never submit to anyone's authority, least of all, a man's authority.

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