I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer embodies the theme of pre-destination. She interweaves the conflict of pre-destination and free-will in the main plot of the story that perpetuates till the end in one form or the other. There are certain secondary themes that overlap with the main theme of pre-destination i. e. unnaturality, ambivalence in human nature etc. Ms. Springer illustrates that Mordred is a prey to his destiny. His patricide can not be denoted as a simple revenge as prophecy plays a central part in bringing him to the altar of pre-destination.
Prophecy compels the King Arthur to set the new born baby adrift on the ocean. Again it was the divine will to fulfil the prophecy that creates a situation in which Nyneve brings Mordred to his biological family. Human capacity to judge and locate the truth is another theme that goes side by side with pre-destination. King Arthur was unaware when he established incestuous relation with his half sister and Mordred does not hold truth about his origin. This can be compared to the intellectual blindness of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex but Ms Springer is unable to inculcate any subtle symbolism in the main plot like Sophocles.
The ruling of predestination starts captivating the readers attention form the arrival of Mordered to the house of the royal family of Lothian and disclosure of his incestuous origin but absolute inevitability of destiny come only at the end. But as Springer believes in his innocence so she characterizes him in such a way that he fulfils the will of providence without being responsible for it. In order the make the story interesting till the end, Nancy Springer has immersed organically another theme into the main plot i. e. ambivalence in human nature.
Mordred had dual feeling of love and hate toward his father. Mordred return to Camelot after the disclosure of truth but also realize that he has cravings for his fathers love. But fears of fulfilment of prophecy also haunt him. This starts a psychological conflict in his mind. Here Ms. Springer has manifested that Mordred was aware of his pre-destination and his fears about the prophetic realization his patricide were not a product of his imagination. Unnaturality is depicted through the bad birth of Mordred who is a product of incestuous love between King Arthur (his father) and his half sister Morgause.
That is the reason that he became a victim to destiny who wanted to punish King Arthur for his unnatural act. So both victim and victimizer are punished for their unnatural origin and act respectively. Springer wants to manifest that divinity or nature has strict punitive measure for crime against natural law, committed consciously or unconsciously. For this purpose nature can even use the victim as tool of punishment. But Ms. Springer portrays Mordreds character in a sympathetic way and illustrates that he is a misinterpreted character and tries to removes the notion about him as an innate and absolute evil.
Although his origin is unnatural but attribution of absolute evilness is quite unfair. While conventional Arthurian myth implies the idea of Mordred being evil incarnate due to his unnatural conception, Springer plainly cast away this misconception and give a new thematic expression to theme of unnaturality. Nancy Springer has used the above-mentioned theme in a profound way that each theme is the natural outcome of the other. Each theme sustains the other till the fulfilment of the prophecy comes.
Springer, Nancy. (1998). I am Mordred : a tale from Camelot. New York : Philomel Books.