Inside the compilation of mythical stories of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, retold by Roger Green, and Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths, two major characters in each story that could be expressed in similar and contrasting ways are Arthur, the king and head of the knights of the Round Table, and Zeus, the supreme leader of all gods and mortals. Similar resemblances that can be found in both is their shadowy lineage, their major mortal flaws, and their nature to journey on epic quests.
Even though they were very similar in some aspects, the two were also very different in other means. Arthur is much more kind to his people and cares about them, while Zeus does not view his subjects as worthy of him and treats them unjustly. An additional difference is Arthur is more mild and not taking harsh action all the time, though Zeus is known for being severe. There are many similarities as well as differences that are attributed to these two mythical characters. Arthur and Zeus can be noted for their mysterious childhood and ways they were treated at infancy.
Both had prophesies of prosperity that led them into adulthood. When Arthur was born, Uther Pendragon, the leader of the Britons, killed a man and married his wife, Igrayne. Uther and Igrayne had one child, but not much longer after it was born, Merlin the enchanter took him away. Soon after, the boy was placed in the arms of Sir Ector, a noble knight. Later, the youth pulled the sword out of a stone that proclaimed that he was the king of all Britain. This young man would later on grow up to be King Arthur. Not unlike Arthur, Zeus also had a unnatural background.
Before Zeus was born, there was a prophecy that stated that Cronos, the king of all gods, would be overthrown by one of his sons. When Zeus was born, he was concealed from his father. As time went by, Zeus waged a war against Cronos and defeated him. Though Zeus and Arthur came from entirely different locations and times, their childhood’s were related on account of both of them being hazy. Even though some might not consider either of the two “mortal”, Arthur and Zeus had very notable human-like flaws. They both seemed to rush to judgements hastily, and were very passionate towards women.
When Arthur hears about King Pellinore and how he is shamelessly killing knights, Arthur runs off to fight. Obviously, Arthur does not give himself time to think, and would have died if it was not for Merlin. Another example would be when Arthur runs off to the Castle of Tarn Wathelyne and pays no heed to Sir Gawain’s warnings. King Arthur ends up being tricked by Morgana Le Fay and would perish save a horrid woman who forced Sir Gawain to marry her for King Arthur’s life. Many times King Arthur would have been killed if it weren’t for his friends such as Merlin and Sir Gawain.
Zeus showed the same characteristic even though it played no part in death for himself. The mighty god jumped to his feet and killed when he found out that Ascelpsius was curing mortals headed to the underworld. Later, Zeus regretted his act of terror and brought Ascelpsius back to life. Passionate feelings for other women, and desire for romance were huge faults in Arthur and Zeus. Arthur’s feelings for Guinevere led to the downfall of the Logres. At first, when Arthur saw Guinevere, he immediately fell in love with her.
Through carelessness and desire for romance, Arthur neglected Merlin’s advice of not marrying the queen. When Guinevere and Lancelot had an affair, a war started, and the realm was destroyed. In Zeus’ case, the gods are not affected by romantic affairs, but the mortals they make love with are affected. Zeus approached many different gods or mortals, even though he is already married to Hera. Hera occasionally followed Zeus, and punished the ones with whom he had affairs. The mythical figures Arthur and Zeus both have major moral flaws: rashness and crave for passion.
King Arthur and Zeus are best known for their epic quests and accomplishments. The two figures seem to be born for the reason to journey on adventures. At age sixteen, Arthur ruled as the king of all Britons. He immediately set forth to drive all of the Saxons out of the island of Britain. This could be considered his first major quest. During his life span, Arthur would set out on many quests to retrieve, and to kill. He journeyed to King Pellinore’s land to fight, and he fought his final battle against Sir Mordred. He died while fulfilling his last quest; killing Mordred.
Zeus started his adventures immediately after he was born and hidden from his father, Cronos. Zeus led a battle, and defeated Cronos and his army of Titans. Afterwards, Zeus was not as concerned about adventuring out to enforce laws, but he desired passion. Though Zeus only journeyed on crusades very few times, he and Arthur are known for the ways they both mythically adventured on quests. The two great figures, Arthur and Zeus, have many similarities; yet the pair is very different on their attitudes of ruling their subjects. The King of the Logres had a very laid back ruling style.
He enforces laws, but is very lenient and he lets the people live freely. After Arthur was crowned king, he set the rules of nobility and honor. His main concern was his own generosity and his leadership. Arthur knew that he was not the strongest or the best of the knights, but he was one of the purest. He knew that he could not lead his knights with an iron fist or else they would rebel against him. On the other hand, Zeus, was a very harsh, all-mighty dictator. He was the strongest and controlled all mortals and their destiny. Zeus has only one way of thinking, his way.
When Prometheus asks him about man’s suffering without fire, he casually explains that man is happy now without fire and the dismisses Prometheus with a warning. Zeus’ desire is to have all of the mortals’ and immortals’ lives in his grasp. He does not like the idea of not being in control. While Arthur is trying to set up a harmonious living space, Zeus is being very harsh and unforgiving towards his people. Ironically, it turns out that Arthur fails in his mission to set up a peaceful location after corruption strikes, while the subjects of Zeus turn out to be content at the moment.
Arthur, the mythical figure who arose from the Dark Ages, and Zeus, the Greek King that ruled over the people, can be compared together very easily or can be contrasted easily too. Both Arthur and Zeus had mysterious origins, moral flaws, and their everlasting pursuit of quests. They also had distinctive and opposite styles of ruling their people. The attributes match up very closely for these two great mythical figures, yet they both had different outcomes in their lives.