Christianity In The Arthurian Tales

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The influence of the dominant cultural Christianity on the King Arthur narrative cannot be ignored. Mentions of the religion abound throughout the tale, particularly in the Quest for the Holy Grail. Arthur was portrayed as a devout Christian, even going into battle with a cross on his shield. However, Christian influences on the text could not have come from the original bards as Christianity first appeared in the country around 387 AD (Crichton 38). Therefore, somewhere along the way the early church of Britain decided to edit out some of the traditional pagan influences. The worldview of the narrator obviously comes to play here. Geoffrey of Monmouth expresses an apocalyptic and visionary philosophy of history throughout his translation, …show more content…
Early traditional heroic epics tend to emphasize the protagonist’s invulnerability and pure heart as a lesson to others, yet these differ from this tradition. Despite the obvious human flaws of Lancelot, King Arthur, and Perceval, the stories surrounding them became preserved by early Britons. Not only considered royal, but also sacred, the stories provided the ancient Celts with a sense of national identity, especially as the many invasions took place on their soil. Similarly, the Bible preserved the moral failings of many individuals considered important to the early church, even saints. No great stretch is required to see how two sacred traditions became intertwined, especially considering the dominant Judeo-Christian tradition that came to dominate western Europe (Goodrich …show more content…
While Arthur was not a common name in Britain, there was a Roman name, “Artoruis” the tale uses inadvertently. Literally translated from the Latin into Welsh, this name means the Bear Chief. The bear represents strength, power, and fearlessness. This animal was an integral totem in Celtic religion as an animal who hibernates and lies dormant for long periods in winter then reawakens in spring. This resembles the Arthur of the legendary tales who sleeps in Avalon and will one day rise again to save the Britons (Crichton

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