The truth is that the legend of King Arthur has survived over the years, but it is not a matter of fortune. So why is a hero who almost certainly did not exist still so powerful? We have already seen that the legend has adapted into different means in order to keep being spread but, why did not the legend stop being passed on from generation into generation? Well, it is pretty clear that there must be something that is shared by all the human beings of all times. The legend develops values that are basic in the human nature condition for instance religion, love, adultery, heroism, loyalty or betrayal.
Religion: Christianity – Paganism
Arthurian Legend emerges from Celtic folklore, in other words, from paganism. Probably Arthur was a Celtic King in a Celtic territory. However, around the 5th or 6th century, certainly was a period where the society was quite influenced to rule in a Catholic mind. Eventually Roman Catholic writers, the only writers permitted, such as Chretian de Troyes, started to adapt the legend into a more Christian one.
As examples of Celtic elements in some legends we have:
Avalon: in Celtic mythology; the blissful otherworld of the dead. In medieval romance it was the island to which the mortally wounded King Arthur was taken, and from which it was expected he would someday return.
Lady of the Lake: a misty, supernatural figure endowed with magic powers, who gave the sword Excalibur to King Arthur.
Merlin: magician, seer, and teacher at the court of King Arthur. He was a culture hero in early Celtic folklore.
On the other hand, examples of Christian elements:
The Holy Grail: One of the most enduring legends of King Arthur is the mystical quest for the Holy Grail. The legend suggests that this is a cup used to capture the blood of Jesus Christ. Thus, to find the cup was the most sacred of tasks to the knights of the Round Table. For many, the quest for the... [continues]
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