What I found most fascinating about the quest for the holy grail in the vulgate cycle, is how fruitless the pursuit feels in comparison to earlier texts and other quests. While understanding the intention of this to be a spiritual and enlightening quest that elevates the undergoers spiritually, the ultimate appeal or value of it in the framework of knighthood feels like an uncomfy fit. There are these major characters and figures from the Arthurian lore, like Lancelot, King Arthur, Gawain, Guinevere and ALL of them feel wrong in the context of this segment of the vulgate cycle. The puruist of the quest itself feels like an obscure and hollow mission with lots of holes in the logic behind pursuing it. As discussed in class, the probability for these knights of returning or serving is very low, and the benefits of achieving the grail is also certain death and in at least some part a due amount of suffering, so what is the point? Perhaps the largest issue I find with it is that Galahad, who is the grail knight in this rotation, doesn't really have to overcome ANYTHING to get the grail. He isn't conquering lust or physical desire, because he simply doesn't experience it. He isn't asserting himself as the best knight, he is just elevated to that position, and acts out wrathfully and violently with no penalty or consequence against proven knights who display the values of the code of chivalry and knighthood. Rather than being a Lancelot 2.0, I find him rather to be the anti-lancelot, as he lacks almost all the basic characteristics and charm which makes his father so legendary in the context of the Arthurian lore. Sure, he's the best, but why? He doesn't appear to put any serious work into becoming the best, where Lancelot has too big of a heart, Galadad doesn't seem to have any heart at all. Is this due to the circumstances of his conception? Or is it just bad writing? No one benefits from this quest, so how is then that it is knightly?
top of page
bottom of page