British Lit: Le Morte d’Arthur “The Characters Who Built the Chivalric Code” Reading Activity



PDF file. Cover page plus two pages. I created this activity because I literally became overwhelmed with teaching the monumental Le Morte d’Arthur. To make our excerpt of the text more manageable, I decided to focus on characterization.

Here is the text found at the top of the sheet: “One objective of reading Le Morte d’Arthur is that we understand how Sir Thomas Malory built his characters… that is, the characterization he used in the story to provide a chivalric code for the tales. Notice how Malory’s characterization teaches a code for behavior.” 

I found that narrowing our focus made this text more manageable for both me and my students. This activity required a fifty-minute class period with students working independently. During our read-aloud, I asked students to list characters as we approached them in the story. When we finished reading and discussing, students chose their four characters for this sheet from their lists.

After students chose their characters, they were to…
  • List three adjectives Malory used to describe each character and provide the line number from which you derived that characteristic.
  • Explain how the character fits into Malory’s story, i.e. how is he/she introduced into the story?
  • Explain the character’s motivation or purpose in Malory’s story. 

There is no key needed, since all answers will vary. Enjoy!


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