Arthurian Legend: A Quest for Love and Perfection

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Christopher Barry
English 224:Arthur
4-18-2013
THE FIGHT FOR THE PRIZE
Throughout Arthurian literature there is a constant struggle to find perfection and love in a world which was rich with war and calamity. Whether it be the Knight Lancelot full, of passion looking to steal the love of the great King Arthurs wife Gueneviere, or Percivals quest to become a supreme knight, each character is driven by his or her own distinct motive and each of them faces an uphill fight in reaching their goal. The middle ages were a dark time when there was little to rejoice in, however theses select stories surrounding King Arthur and the Knights of the round table find light in the dark by intertwining love and adventure into the otherwise grim story lines. The story of Culhwch and the hunt for his destined wife Olwen depicts a exhilirating journey fueled by passion, and the yearning that Culhwch has for love and happiness. Culhwch's life begins with his birth in a pig pen, the most destitute of place, and ends with a happy marrige with the beautiful giant's daughter, Olwen. However, this task is not achieved easily, like almost all of the other texts, Culhwch is made to work for his soils and does so with out any remorse. Ysbaddaden, Olwens father, Creates a list of over forty nearly impossible missions that would have to be completed in order for Culhwch to take his daughters hand in marrige.The tasks at hand seem somewhat absurd, however Culhwch's drive to attain his wife triumphs over all as he, accompanied by several knights of Arthur's round table, completes the mission, and eventually gets his lady. Despite the fact that today the story is seen as some what of a romance, Culhwch only tells Olwen that he loves her once and even this occurance is unsure. Thus showing the hesitence of the author to express such deep emotions in a novel during this time period, as up to this point novels were not used for entertainment, but more as propaganda or a historical refrence....
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