- Sir Kay
Arthurian legend, Sir Kay (Welsh: Cai, Kai, or Kei, or Cei; Latin: Caius or Gaius; French: Keu; French Romance: Queux; Old French: Kès or Kex) is Sir Ector's son and King Arthur's foster brother and later seneschal, as well as one of the first Knights of the Round Table. In later literature he is known for his acid tongue and boorish behavior, but in earlier accounts he was one of Arthur's premier warriors. Along with Bedivere, with whom he is frequently associated, Kay is one of the earliest characters associated with Arthur. [See Rachel Bromwich's discussion in the "Notes on Personal Names", part of her edition of "Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Welsh Triads", second edition (Cardiff: University of Wales, 1978), pp. 303-307.]
Kay is ubiquitous in Arthurian literature but he rarely serves as anything but a foil for other characters. Though he manipulates the king to get his way, his loyalty to Arthur is usually unquestioned. In the
Vulgate Cycle, the Post-Vulgateand Thomas Malory's " Le Morte d'Arthur", Kay's father Ector adopts the infant Arthur after Merlintakes him away from his birth parents, Utherand Igraine. Ector raises him and Kay as brothers, but Arthur's parentage is revealed when he draws the Sword in the Stone at a tournament in London. Arthur, serving as squire to the newly-knighted Kay, loses his brother's sword and uses the Sword in the Stone to replace it. Kay shows his characteristic opportunism when he tries to claim it was he that pulled the sword from the stone, making him the true King of the Britons, but he relents and admits it was Arthur. He becomes one of the first Knights of the Round Table and serves his foster-brother throughout his life.
Kay's father is called Ector in later literature, but the Welsh accounts name him as Cynyr Fork-Beard. In "
Erec and Enide", Chrétien de Troyesmentions he had a son called Gronosis, who was versed in evil, while the Welsh give him a son and daughter named Garanwyn and Celemon. Romance rarely deals with Kay's love life, an exception being Girart d'Amiens' "Escanor", which details his love for Andrivete of Northumbria, whom he must defend from her uncle's political machinations before they can marry.
The Welsh Cai
Welsh literature, where he is called "Cai Hir" ("Kay the Tall"),Fact|date=August 2007 he is a powerful, hot-tempered champion. He and Bedivere are two of the six knights chosen to accompany Culhwchon his quest in the " Mabinogion" romance " Culhwch and Olwen" (another is Gwalchmei, or Gawain), and he displays such feats of heroism as slaying the giant Wrnach, rescuing Mabon son of Modronfrom his watery prison, and making a dog's leash from the beard of Dillus the Bearded. Superhuman abilities are attributed to Cai in much Welsh literature; the poem " Pa Gur" mentions he had battled the monstous cat Cath Palug, and the Welsh Triadsname him as one of the "Three Enchanter Knights of Britain", claiming he had the ability to grow as tall as a tree. In "Culhwch" the stubborn Cai has a falling out with Arthur, who writes a song poking fun at his killing of Dillus the Bearded, but elsewhere he is Arthur's loyal companion. In the Life of St. Cadoc(c.1100) he was alongside Arthur and Bedivere in dealing with King Gwynllywof Gwynllwg's abduction of St. Gwladysfrom her father's court in Brycheiniog.
Welsh Romances(specifically " Owain, or the Lady of the Fountain" and " Peredur son of Efrawg"), Cai assumes the same boorish role he takes in the continental romances. However, manuscripts for these romances date to well after Chrétien de Troyes, meaning that Cai as he appears there may owe more to Chrétien's version of the character than to the indigenous Welsh representation.
Kay in later legend
Kay and Bedivere appear in
Geoffrey of Monmouth's " Historia Regum Britanniae", and aid Arthur in defeating the Giant of Mont Saint Michel. Geoffrey makes Kay the count of Anjouand Arthur's steward, an office he holds in most later literature.
In the works of
Chrétien de Troyes, Kay assumes the characteristics he is most associated with today. He retains his hot-headedness and fiery temper from Welsh literature, but he is more or less an incompetent braggart. Chrétien uses him as a scoffer and a troublemaker; a foil for heroic knights like Lancelot, Ywain, or Gawain. He mocks the chivalric courtesy of Sir Calogrenantin " Yvain, the Knight of the Lion", and he tricks Arthur into allowing him to try to save Guineverefrom Maleagantin " Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart", which ends in his humiliating defeat. In " Perceval, the Story of the Grail", Sir Kay grows angry with Perceval's naivete and slaps a maiden who says he will become a great knight; Perceval avenges her later when he breaks Kay's shoulder. Wolfram von Eschenbach, who tells the same story in his " Parzival", asks his audience not to judge Kay too harshly, as his sharp words actually serve to maintain courtly order.
Scholars have pointed out that Kay's scornful, overly boastful character never makes him a clown, a coward or a traitor, except in the Grail romance "
Perlesvaus", where he murders Arthur's son Loholtand joins up with the king's enemies. This strange work is an anomaly, however, and Kay's portrayal tends to range from merely cruel and malicious, as in the "Roman de Yder" or Hartmann von Aue's " Iwein" to humorously derisive and even endearing, as in " Durmart le Gallois" and Girart d'Amiens's "Escanor".
Oddly, given his ubiquity, Kay's death is not frequently dealt with. In Welsh literature, it is mentioned he was killed by Gwyddawg and avenged by Arthur. In Geoffrey of Monmouth and the "
Alliterative Morte Arthure", he is killed in the war against the Roman emperor Lucius, while the Vulgate Cycle has him die in France, also in battle against the Romans.
Kay is a main character in the first two books of
T. H. White's " The Once and Future King", " The Sword in the Stone" and "The Queen of Air and Darkness". His portrayal is based on Malory's account of Arthur's upbringing, but White adds a number of new elements to the story, including one in which the young Kay kills a dangerous griffinwith the aid of Robin Hoodand Maid Marian. He appears somewhat differently in the film adaptation.
Kay is the main character of
Phyllis Ann Karr's " Idylls of the Queen". In "Le Morte d'Arthur", the knight Sir Patrise is poisoned and the queen is accused of it; Karr transforms the romance into a murder mystery, with Kay as the detective. Kay is portrayed as a young knight, even younger than Arthur, in " A Kid in King Arthur's Court", a somewhat loose interpretation of Mark Twain's " A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". In the film version of Twain's work, he is portrayed by Daniel Craig.
* [http://www.kingarthursknights.com/knights/kay.asp King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table: Sir Kay]
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/kay.html Sir Kay at Early British Kingdoms]
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Look at other dictionaries:
Sir Kay — rompió su espada en el torneo, por Howard Pyle. En las leyendas sobre el rey Arturo, Sir Kay el Senescal (también Keu, del galés Cai, Cei, Kai o Kei) es el hijo del padre adoptivo del rey, Sir Héctor, y por lo tanto es hermanastro de Arturo. Se… … Wikipedia Español
Sir Ector — (sometimes Hector, Antor, or Ectorius) is the father of Sir Kay and the foster father of King Arthur in the Arthurian legend. Sometimes a king instead of merely a lord, he has an estate in the country as well as properties in London. In The Once… … Wikipedia
Sir Ector — (manchmal Hector, Antor oder Bedwere) ist eine Sagenfigur der mittelalterlichen Artusromane. Er ist der Vater von Sir Kay und der Pflegevater von König Artus. Ector erscheint in den Werken von Robert de Boron und Thomas Malory s Le Morte d Arthur … Deutsch Wikipedia
Sir Breunor — le Noir, (also spelled Brunor), nicknamed La Cote Male Taile (the badly shaped coat) by Sir Kay after his arrival in his murdered father s coat at King Arthur s court, is a character mentioned in Arthurian legend. He receives his knighthood after … Wikipedia
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Kay — f, m English: 1 (f.) Pet form of any of the various female names beginning with the letter K (cf. DEE (SEE Dee) and JAY (SEE Jay)), most notably KATHERINE (SEE Katherine) and its variants. 2 (m.) Comp … First names dictionary
Sir Breunor le Noire — (o Brunor), apodado La Cote Mal Taile ( la armadura deformada ) por sir Kay el Senescal, es un caballero de la Mesa Redonda. Fue nombrado caballero tras salvar a la Reina Ginebra de un león que se había escapado de su jaula. Categoría: Caballeros … Wikipedia Español
Kay — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Kay imagesize= caption= pronunciation= gender = meaning = region = origin = related names = footnotes = Kay may refer to:A female first name:* Kay Elson, Australian Liberal Party politician * Kay Hull, Australian … Wikipedia
Sir Héctor — Para el hermanastro de Lanzarote, véase Héctor de Maris. Sir Héctor (también Ector, Antor, o Ectorius) es un personaje de las historias del rey Arturo y los caballeros de la Mesa Redonda de Camelot. Sir Héctor es el padre de Sir Kay, y padrastro… … Wikipedia Español
Kay — noun a) derived from several Old and Middle English words; also adopted by immigrants whose surnames began with a K. b) derived from the surnames, or from a rare medieval given name ( as the Sir Kay of Arthurian legend ), Welsh Cai, Latinized as… … Wiktionary