Sir Dagonet /ˈdæɡəˌnɛt, ˌdæɡəˈnɛt/ (or Dagenet, Daguenes, Daguenet, Dragonet etc.) was King Arthur's jester, and a Knight of the Round Table of Arthurian legend. He saw himself as a courageous warrior and would present himself as such. Yet, in reality, he would flee at the slightest provocation. He often battered his own shield so that it appeared that he had been in a fight – telling all that he emerged victorious of course.

Dagonet's tom-foolery was famed. He once playfully "captured" Sir Lancelot by leading his horse to Queen Guinevere and the noble knight was dubbed "Dagonet's Prisoner" to great hilarity. During the False Guinevere's reign, the jester took on the administration of the Royal Court and bankrupted the household. Yet, the unfortunate treasurer, Fole, was killed for reproving him. Sir Gawain even adopted the name Dagonet as an ironic alias during one of his adventures.

The Knights of the Round Table often used Dagonet to play practical jokes on their rivals or their enemies. Sir Kay arranged for Sir Breunor to joust with Dagonet at his first tournament, in order to deprive him of the honour of defeating a true knight. On another occasion, Arthur's men pointed out Dagonet to King Mark of Cornwall and told him he was Lancelot; the cowardly monarch fled screaming into the forest. Sometimes however, the jester came off a worse for wear. He was beaten by the temporarily insane Sir Tristan and went mad himself, when his wife was abducted by Helior of the Thorn. Dagonet, however, later tracked Helior down and killed him.

In Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, he is mostly portrayed as a buffoon who has been knighted as a joke, and is defeated by Sir Breunor.

The winner of the 2019 Chester Vase was named Sir Dragonet.

Later appearances

  • In Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2, Master Shallow boasts of portraying Sir Dagonet in "Arthur's play". This identifies the character as a buffoon.
  • In Tennyson's 19th-century poetry cycle Idylls of the King, "Sir" Dagonet appears in "The Last Tournament". The jester is the only one of the court who could foresee the coming doom of the kingdom. He mocks the faithless knights who have broken their vows, and declares that although he and Arthur could hear the music of God's plan, they can not.
  • In Howard Pyle's 1905 novel The Story of the Champions of the Round Table, Sir Dagonet, called Arthur's fool, is dim-witted yet noted for his knightly deeds. He bears the heraldic device of a cockerel's head.
  • In the 1930's Grove Play Birds of Rhiannon by Waldemar Young, instead of participating in the Battle of Camlann he is instead sent on a quest along with Taliesin and other court bards by Merlin to go "beyond the furthest hill" to find their lost childhood dreams. They had been traveling for 28 days since but then after leaving the forest they came upon a hill where they meet a shepherd boy who lost his sheep when he got distracted by one of Rhiannon's birds. Then they were interrupted by Sir Kay who tells them that King Arthur wants them to return (not mentioning that Arthur had already died in Camlann). While the others gave up the quest in order to return, Sir Dagonet refused. He and Kay fought but in the end Kay was victorious and ran his sword through Dagonet and laughed as he left Dagonet to die.
  • In the 2004 film King Arthur, the character, portrayed by Ray Stevenson, is depicted as a brave, self-sacrificing warrior whose actions save the rest of Arthur's knights.
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