Advisor: Dr. Martha Driver

English Literature, Culture, & Media

Document Type



The legends of King Arthur and Tristan and Isolt have been popular for centuries, leading to multiple translations and versions of each text. Modern filmmakers have added to this legacy. Though audiences have enjoyed various contemporary film adaptations of these medieval romances, several essential elements are lost while translating the works to screen. This paper identifies a central motif in each work—King Arthur’s Round Table and Isolt’s love potion—that shapes the subsequent love triangle, and by extension, the representation and motivation of honor. While tracing the continued appearance of such components and their importance in the text sources of Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, Chrétien de Troyes, Thomas Malory, Gottfried von Strassburg, and Joseph Bédier, this paper will then discuss how each is manipulated by modern filmmakers and the lasting consequences on the legends as a result of such changes.