The Once And Future King by T.H White is a four part book of magic, love, death, war and medieval tales. The book tells the tale of how the Wart (Arthur) becomes king and how he goes about life. The need for education is very important; the lessons Arthur learns and his application of them later in life demonstrates this importance.
The lessons Arthur learns as a child is taught to him by various animals. On the signs over each ant tunnel was a notice which read,” Everything Not Forbidden Is Compulsory” (122). In the life of a worker ant there is no free thought allowed. The worker ants also have no free will; they do only what they are told to do and nothing else. Another good example is the view of Lyo-lyok the goose; “There are no boundaries among the geese” (170). Lessons learned from the geese are those that teach leaders take charge when a leader is needed. The geese also teach Arthur why war is unnecessary. In those lessons Arthur learns that Communism is oppression, is war, and Lyo-lyok teaches that war is not the only thing one should depend on.
Later in Arthur’s life, he uses his education to form ideas of using might for right. For example, Arthur rhetorically inquires, “Why can’t you harness might so that it works for right” (248)? Asserting his idea Arthur decides to fight the battle at Bedegraine in hopes of stopping people from thinking of war as he once did. With that idea in mind Arthur wishes to use might to show people what is right. Arthur then decides to enforce his idea of might for right by creating a league of knights (The Knights Of The Round Table); this idea leads to a genius proposal in when he states, “Then we can have a circular table” (265). Arthur’s round table idea prevents jealousy and competition among the knights. Merlyn suggest that Arthur could get the table he needs from a friend who just happens to have a daughter looking for marriage, and so Arthur and Guenever met in this episode.
During his life Arthur matures as a person and as a king. Watching him grow and learn throughout his life the need and importance of an education is quite noticeable. The need for education to mold ones character is revealed through Arthur’s example.