The role of knight is for men in early adulthood who still swagger with youthful indulgence. A man's wedding symbolizes his coronation; crowning is the promotion of a knight and fair maiden to king and queen. But unbeknownst, the Shadow looms below and within it is the brave and brash knight of youth and the distressed damsel, a princess seated on her pedestal awaiting rescue. True king and queenship comes with integration.
A knight idealizes the universal feminine; he worships her, serves her and dedicates his life to her. This is not a relationship based on equality and is made profane when he confuses a flesh and blood female with the universal feminine which is represented through his anima. A king is the partner of his queen. Knights are young--they have not integrated their anima--they resolve problems through masculine behaviour such as the rational thinking function and separating, isolating and conquering. They think with their sword and act with little forethought, seeking to fix problems without first diagnosing.
Knowledge of Self requires separation for observation and thus man is a separate being from woman so that each may know what is in themselves by observing the other in comparison to themselves, only then is integration possible. The MLC knight is trying to rescue distressed damsels who are all representations of his anima; thus he is trying to rescue his inner feminine. In MLC he has acknowledged that he failed when he attempted to rescue his wife and he thus goes in search of a new female to replace his wife upon the divine pedestal. Though it is not an appropriate place for any person, often the wife's initial reaction is to climb back onto the pedestal and try to prove she is worthy.
At midlife a man's repressed feeling side demands attention. His wife saw him through the pre-midlife development of his masculine elements and he associates her with this role, but he is thus unable to see her as capable of being a proper partner for his changing role. MLC is an unaccompanied descent into the unconscious. A transition that does not reach crisis levels includes a gradual and guided descent. By seeking an anima guide through a real female, an MLCer becomes susceptible to temptation from an OW. Revolutionary change is a pathway for Shadow integration, but when it involves abandonment and denial, integration fails and instead the new life often continues without development, and the man remains unchanged, making the same mistakes in his new relationships as he did in his marriage.