The Grail Quest in the Play "At the Hawk´S Well" by W.B.Yeats

1838 Words Apr 22nd, 2011 8 Pages
1 The Grail Quest in the Play At the Hawk's Well by William Butler Yeats A search for that which gives meaning to life has always occupied human minds. The ancient scholars, philosophers, writers and intellectuals devoted many years of their lives to find the answer. They created various theories – religious and philosophical – to explain the system of the universe and find the source of all things. On example of William Butler Yeats' play At the Hawk's Well and Chretien's romance Le Conte du Graal I shall show the way the both authors concern this subject. First, I shall give the historical background of the play and explain the symbolic importance of Cuchulain for Yeats. Second, I shall find and interpret the Celtic symbols in the play, …show more content…
“From what fell upon his lips the hero acquired the gift of prescience“ (Vendler 205). We find the symbol of the well in The Well at the World's End by William Morris - a magic well which will confer an immortality and strengthened destiny on those who drink from it. Birgit Bjersby suggests that it was from William Morris that Yeats derived the conjunction of Well and Tree, and quotes his essay on Morris in support of her suggestion: When the water that gives a long and a fortunate life and that can be found by none but such a one as all women love is found at last, the Dry Tree, the image of the ruined land, becomes green. To him indeed...Well and Tree are all but images of the one thing, of an 'energy' that is not the less 'eternal delight' because it is half of the body“ (Vendler 206). The essay links imagery of Well and Tree to the stories of the Grail

3 The Grail Quest in the Play At the Hawk's Well by William Butler Yeats quest. “The Grail, a source of fertility and abundance, could be won only by men with lucky eyes and men whom all women love“ (Skene 126). Roger Loomis goes further and points out the strong resemblance in the descriptions of Cuchulain's and Perceval's boyhood. Furthermore, the story of the birth of the Welsh hero Pryderi, who is considered by Loomis to be a direct prototype of Perceval in Le Conte du Graal by Chretien de Troyes,

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