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The Tragedy of Arthur: Legitimate Power Over Others


Regardless of how bad they are or how often they disappoint their children, parents are crucial figures in everyone’s life. They play a significant role in the growth and upbringing of their kids, and they are also responsible for how they turn out in the long run. Consequently, parents have the legal authority to control their kids and make them do something they might think is unjust or undesirable. This issue of the legal use of force is shown in several examples in Phillips’s book The Tragedy of Arthur. Most of the case situations are made clear by Arthur’s parents’ conduct toward their kids. For instance, there are times when Arthur and Dana’s father makes them read Shakespeare, although he has not considered the possibility that it might not be their cup of tea.

Nonetheless, Arthur’s parents think that the measures they take to control their kids are for the kids’ benefit. In contrast, when Arthur’s father is detained, and the judge decides regardless of his argument, it is an appropriate use of the law’s authority. Such instances are a blatant example of how lawful power was used in the novel.


Typically, parents have rightful authority over their kids. In this instance, it indicates that parents are responsible for giving their kids the best possible lifestyles. As a result, they will make them do things they do not want to, but they comply because they think it is best for them. Such legitimate authority is first observed in Arthur Phillips’ play The Tragedy of Arthur through the bond between Arthur and Dana and their mother. The book’s author explains how their mother justified her control over him and his sister in the book’s opening section (Phillips 15). “Our mother brought us to see a display of Dad’s artwork. She made us wear costumes. I wore a little bow tie. We were permitted to go around together while holding soda in paper cups and making one another laugh with jokes about the various paintings. In this situation, it may be claimed that Arthur’s mother forced them to dress up so they would appear respectable at their father’s event. Most of the time, parents make their kids do things that they would not choose to do. Children, particularly those who live with their parents, have little choice but to comply with their requests. This illustrates how parents exercise their rightful authority over their children.

Children frequently perform actions they dislike to satisfy their parents. Shakespeare was made required reading by Arthur, who admits to it in the book Tragedy of Arthur, to appease his father. Shakespeare was not among Arthur’s passions, although his sister Dana had adopted their father’s love of Shakespearean literature. Nevertheless, to appease his father, he was compelled to read Shakespeare’s work. When we were six years old, our father began to read Shakespeare to us, which was successful for one of us. Within a year, Dana was reciting it aloud to herself. Back then, her passion and talent for Shakespeare were perhaps a bit forced, at least at first. An apparent attempt to impress dad (Phillips 15). In this instance, Arthur’s father had attempted to compel his children to comprehend and cherish Shakespeare readings by using his authorized authority. Even if his efforts paid off with Dana, Arthur did it to satisfy himself; given a choice, he would have preferred to spend his time reading the writings of other authors he enjoyed instead.

Occasionally parents make difficult decisions for their kids without discussing them because they think it is the right thing to do. One such instance was when Arthur’s mother chose to leave their home and move to a different one. Dana and Arthur were not told or made aware that they were leaving their house; they were just surprised. They were taken aback by it because they had to relocate in the early morning, and their mother had made them get up and ready for the trip. “Our mother got us up early one winter Saturday when we were 8 or 9 years old, following the separation of our parents but before her remarriage. Still pitch black. She had already raced out to the driveway to disconnect the car’s core heater from the power socket, fire it up, and then dash back inside while it warmed up. They were forced to eat and dress in school uniforms. I moved like a snail, reluctantly” (Phillips 17). This is also an excellent illustration of how Arthur’s mother used lawful authority when she had her kids get out of bed when it was still pitch black, get ready for a trip they were unaware of, and eat food they did not want to. Because it was not a school night, Arthur most likely would have decided to miss breakfast, lingered in bed until mid-morning, and stayed in the home he had become accustomed to. He and Dana were forced to follow their mother’s instructions since she was in control and wiser than they were.

Parents always assume that their kids will follow their orders without hesitation. This is seen in the novel when Arthur’s mother chooses to marry another man without informing or bringing up the subject with her kids. As they had to adjust to having and referring to a guy they hardly knew as their father, this would be a significant defining moment in their lives. They also had to learn to tolerate him, although they knew nothing about him because it was their first time meeting their stepfather. “Our mother indicated the table where we were supposed to sit before exiting. She had to read the paper throughout the house while we gave him our late Hanukkah presents (Phillips 16). In this instance, Arthur’s mother had the right to impose force on her kids since she gave them orders and assumed they would follow them without hesitation.

Furthermore, it may be claimed that she exercised lawful authority when she entered her lover’s home without letting her kids know. She could have thought kids were too young to grasp what was happening in this situation, or she may have decided it was not their concern. In any event, this situation demonstrates her lawful authority over her kids.

In rare circumstances, children may legitimately rule over their parents without getting their permission. When Arthur, Dana, and their mother visited their father in jail in the novel, even though their father insisted that they save their gifts for him until he was released, Arthur eventually persuaded him to glance at the present that Dana had created for him. Arthur tried to shield his sister from his father’s heartbreak by saying, “You have to await, dad; she worked very hard for you.” “Artie, no worries. I am so eager that I cannot wait. Dana, have it now (Phillips 17). It is evident in this situation that Arthur attempted to legitimately abuse his father’s authority to get his father to do what Dana desired and save her sister any suffering. Furthermore, although he understood it was improper and that doing so might get him into trouble, Arthur’s father had to comply with his children’s demands.

When someone engages in a crime, the judiciary should utilize its power to ensure that the offender is held accountable for their acts. In the tragic Arthurian tragedy, Arthur’s father was sentenced to prison for a crime, and the court ruled on his case. Despite having an opportunity to explain himself, the court decided to sentence Arthur’s father to life in jail without the possibility of release (20). This is yet another illustration of how using force lawfully is possible, only this time it is being done by those who uphold the law.


The idea of legitimate authority permeates every scene in William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Arthur. Shakespeare, for example, tells the tale of King Arthur, who is forced into battle by the late king of Pictland’s successor, Uter, who feels King Arthur deprived him of the right to the kingdom. “Arthur, by all means, do well; your prey is now waiting. Stay, nevertheless, my prince. In haste, do not charge alone. Her rump is jammed up against the thick hide of an oak. Thus, two guys are in authority to the left and right (I.i.228). To bend down while holding ready-to-use sharp-toothed bolts. Mordred, Uther’s son, asserts the inherent authority that he received from his father to obtain what is properly his.

On the other side, Monarch Arthur also protects his throne by using his rightful authority as king. He engages in combat with Mordred, whom he ultimately vanquishes and kidnaps. King Arthur’s vow of harmony between his nation and Mordred’s is a price Mordred must pay, “tell the beagles that they are now the king’s beagles, not the same at all, even if it is possible that they will not wait for you any longer. The message is changed while maintaining the same voice. Also, you! To the prince’s hound-master, he is no longer a boy. Boy, be as tall as a gigantic hound’s withers as you stand! Right now, you work for the king’s hounds’ commander. If you desire, handcuff the other lads already (II.i.404). In this scenario, King Arthur asserts vehemently that he is the legitimate ruler of Pictland and that Mordred is no anymore a prince but rather his prisoner. In this instance, King Arthur can control and tell his subjects to do what he says without raising any objections, thanks to his rightful authority as king. Additionally, he promises Mordred’s subjects that there will be tranquillity between the two feuds as long as Mordred is his prisoner.

Numerous instances of the exercise of lawful power are documented in the book The Tragedy of Arthur. Most of the proof comes from how Arthur’s parents compelled him and his sister, Dana, to participate in activities they did not want to undertake or were unaware of. For instance, in the novel, Arthur’s father makes his kids read Shakespeare because he thinks they could be interested in the same things he is or because he thinks it would help them grow up. Another scene shows their mother forcing them to get dressed for their father’s events and forcing them to travel without their permission to her boyfriend’s home. These situations illustrate how parents may adequately exercise their authority to make decisions for their children when they perceive them as too young. When Arthur’s father gets imprisoned for some infraction, and the judge decides to send him back to jail, it is another instance of legal authority being utilized in a court of law. It may be claimed from these instances that the exercise of power has occasionally served positive purposes. However, certain activities might have unfavourable effects since coercing someone into doing something they do not want to do can lead to conflicts. This is clear from the tension between Arthur and his father when the latter had Arthur read Shakespeare, which he hated. In the end, he began to harbour animosity toward his father. Parents must exercise their authority in a way that will foster a favourable attitude in their children rather than opposing views, which can have detrimental effects.


I considered many other factors when researching the essay inspired by the novel The Tragedy of Arthur. First, I used paragraph bait to draw the reader in with a memorable phrase and maintain their interest. Second, I provided an argument statement that includes a synopsis of the key ideas from the body of the text. Thirdly, I wrote various paragraphs, each of which contained a solution to the chosen question. I restated my argument and made a final observation on the concepts I had built during the essay. This article was fun to write since it was enlightening. I got to study legitimate power, a concept I had never heard of before. I gained a more excellent knowledge of the subject by reading The Tragedy of Arthur and using its numerous instances. The concept of lawful authority may be applied to other fields, such as psychology, where one might try to look into the psychological significance of the action in question.

The most admirable aspect of finishing my essay was including actual quotes from the text. This supported my claim and helped the reader comprehend the subject at hand as well as the opening assertions for each issue. Nevertheless, if the essay had been lengthier, I think I would have included additional instances from the book, which I think I skipped over because of the word restriction and the intended length of many pages. I want the lecturer to pay close attention to the essay’s organization, the supporting details I selected from the book, how my thesis subject relates to the evidence presented, and the paragraph changes.

Work Cited

Arthur, Phillips. The Tragedy of Arthur. Univ of California Press, 2012.


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