Casablanca’s Rick as Arthurian legend

SUMMARY: Ed Wilson looks at Casablanca as a type of Arthurian legend

One of my favorite movies is Casablanca, the story of an American café owner during World War II. Recently, I have been reading about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. In particular, Mallory’s Le Mort De Arthur., but other books as well. This morning, it dawned on me that there are significant parallels. I may well explore this over a period of time, but for now, I am wondering what the story of Casablanca would be like, if it were told like an Arthurian romance? How about this:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a Knight-errant named Rick. Rick, and his faithful squire Sam, were in Paris recovering from their travels, when they happened upon a beautiful Queen Ilsa. Queen Ilsa was hiding from evil dark knights when she rescued by Rick. Good king Victor was also on the run from the evil dark knights,  and was reported dead. Rick pledged his undying devotion and protection to Ilsa.

One day, Queen Ilsa was told that good king Victor had been rescued from the evil dark knights, but he was weak and so she fled the protection of Rick to be with her king. Rick thought she had rejected his protection and devotion, and went into a far away land of exile. He ceased to be a knight, and rejected his chivalric code.

But a knight is always a knight, even when he is in exile, and soon the people began to rally around the brave knight Rick. He hears about a young knight who is searching for the holy grail, and despite Ricks claim that he has abandoned his chivalric code, he agrees to help the young knight with his quest. When the knight is killed by the evil dark knights, Rick protects the holy grail.

One day, a young damsel comes to Rick in distress. The evil sheriff is attempting to hold her love hostage, and tries to steal her virtue. Rick rescues her from the evil sheriff, restores her to her love, and risks retaliation from the evil sheriff.

Good King Victor and beautiful queen Ilsa arrive in Casablanca and interrupt Ricks exile. The king tells Rick that he needs help to escape from the evil dark knights. The queen appeals to Ricks Chivalry, but Rick must first fight a demon to prove he is worthy to be of service to the king, and to protect the queens honor. After a long battle that lasts all night and all day, Rick emerges victorious and ready to be of service to the king and queen.

Now, he must figure out how to defeat the evil dark knight, and avoid the wrath of the sheriff. He comes up with a brilliant plan to turn the weaknesses of the evil dark knight and the sheriff against themselves. He decides to deliver the holy grail to the king and queen, and thus to return them to their rightful place.

To prove himself a worthy knight, and to return to his chivalric code, he must pass four tests. The first test, is he must outsmart the sheriff and hide the holy grail. Next, he must deal with tricky merchants and beat them in a battle of wits. Third he has to get the king and queen safely to their chargers, so they can leave exile at the appropriate time. Fourth, he must battle the evil dark knight in a fight to the death. and lastly, and perhaps the greatest fight of all, Rick must conquer his passions, and prove himself a worthy knight.

The good knight Rick delivers the holy grail to king, saves the queen, outsmarts the local merchants, kills the evil dark knight, and proves himself to be a noble and good knight. He resumes his wanderings, and once again seeks to defend the weak, help the helpless, and live a righteous life.

In a later article, I may look at specific elements of the chivalric code as they apply to Rick.

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