Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone

How Arthur Gat His Sword Excalibur

Excalibur and the Sword in the Stone

Symbols and MotifsBackground Essay Author: Alan Lupack
The Sword in the Stone, sometimes a sword in an anvil, is drawn by Arthur as proof of his birthright and of his nobility. It is both a test and a miraculous sign of his royalty. The sword drawn from the stone is different from the one given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake. The latter is always referred to as Excalibur; the former is called by that name only once, when Arthur draws the sword at a crucial moment in the first battle to test his sovereignty (Vinaver I, 19): "thenne he drewe his swerd Excalibur, but it was so breyght in his enemyes eyen that it gaf light lyke thirty torchys."