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Title: Pelleas  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Arthurian Legend, Ywain the Bastard, Hellawes (sorceress), Segwarides, Sir Ector
Collection: Knights of the Round Table
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sir Pellias, The Gentle Knight, by Howard Pyle from The Story of King Arthur and His Knights. (1903)
For the beetle genus, see Pelleas (beetle).

Pelleas , or Pellias, is a Thomas Malory reworked the Post-Vulgate story in the first book of his Le Morte d'Arthur. There, Gawain leaves the maiden—who in this version is called Ettarde—after the incident with the sword. Nimue, one of the Ladies of the Lake, comes upon Pelleas, hears his story, and falls in love with him herself. She takes vengeance on Ettarde by magic, enchanting her to fall in love with Pelleas as deeply as he loved her. Pelleas, whose love has turned to hate, spurns Ettarde, and she dies of sorrow. Nimue and Pelleas fall in love and marry and it is Nimue who becomes Guivret's mother.

In Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Pelleas is knighted by Arthur at a young age. As a young knight, he deeply loves the maiden Ettarre who finds his youthful shyness and stammering bothersome and does not return his affection. She lies to him to induce him to give her a golden arm circlet, the prize of a tournament that he won, as a token of his love.

Ettarre, selfish and having gained the circlet and thus some social elevation, desires to be left alone; but despite her treachery Pelleas cannot forget her. He defeats all knights sent by her but, after each victory, deliberately allows himself to be captured and taken prisoner to her castle, as it is the only way that he can ever see his true love. Unsympathetic, Ettarre takes his horse from him and sends him on his way, only to return again and again.

Gawain, offers to try to persuade Ettarre to love Pelleas. Gawain instead lies to her, telling her he has slain Pelleas, and betrays him, sleeping with her himself. Pelleas finds the two together sleeping, and leaves his sword on their chests, revealing that he is alive and well, but also as a sign of honor, as he says he cannot kill a knight such as Gawain in his sleep.

Pelleas appears as a minor character at other points in these works, fighting in tournaments, and defending Guinevere from her abductor Maleagant as one of the Queen's Knights. His story has continued to be popular with 19th and 20th century writers.

See also

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