there is simply not a more congenial spot…

I was watching Camelot tonight and I was struck by the last scene.  Usually I find the 2nd act of musicals less entertaining because there’s generally fewer songs, but this time I found the conflict Arthur faces to be particularly interesting.

Throughout the movie, Arthur’s main concern is being civilized – might for right, justice for all, a round table so no one is at the head – but it is his insistence on civilization and law that eventually forces him to fight the two people he loves the most, Guenevere and Lancelot.  His illegitimate son twists the laws Arthur put in place so that there is no possibility of mercy.  No matter how hard he tried to create a “civilized” England, nothing he did could make his people good, even the ones closest to him.  Mordred challeges him: “See if virtue remains without fear.”  That is the very basis of law, isn’t it?  The fear of consequences will make people be good, or at least very sneaky about being bad.  But laws, even good ones, even civilized ones have no power.

Arthur’s downfall was not his ideas, his round table, loving Guenevere and Lancelot, or even Mordred – it was his unwavering faith that people could be good and civilized if they were put in the right context.  If ladies were given knights in armor and knights were given tournaments and a round table and duels were replaced with trials by jury, then Camelot could remain forever.

But no earthly kingdom reigns forever.  No law, regardless of how well it regulates the weather, can regulate the human soul.  Even as Arthur rejoices in the end because the young boy has heard stories of the round table and wants to be a knight, and therefore there is hope the future, we cannot rejoice with him.  We know that law cannot make us good or civilized, it cannot save us, whether it be made by a king or a congress.  The only One who can save is the One who fulfilled the law and died in our place, that we might become the righteousness of God.

p.s. – I submitted my employment application for Memphis City Schools today…eek!

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1 Comment

  1. Dad

     /  March 8, 2009

    When I grow up I want to be able to think like you!

    Reply

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