Le Conte du Graal:
La Religion et Le Symbolism
The story of the Grail is one that has many religious influences. Throughout the story the protagonist, Perceval, is continuously learning about faith and experiences many instances that are symbolic of faith as well. First, his religious education at a young age was limited because of his mother’s decision to live in the forest away from society. Then he learns of having both faith and hope during his travels while learning to become a true knight. There is also a major influence on prayer and salvation that is worked into the story where Perceval and the reader might least expect it, as well as many figures that are Christ-like in ...view middle of the document...
Perceval’s mother does not give him a complete picture of what faith really is. This is because of the grief she suffered in the past. Perceval’s mother has experienced true suffering during her life. Thus the responsibility of teaching Perceval to have faith and hope is difficult, but she tries to instill those feelings within him by providing a basic religious education. This means that Perceval’s true religious education falls upon others that he later encounters during his journeys while becoming a real knight. His mentor, Gornemant, made sure that Perceval knew to pray and to have faith because that is what good knights do. It is not until the end of the story where Perceval is taught the traditions and meanings of religious traditions by his uncle, L’Ermite. (Szkilnik)
His uncle also explains what the Grail truly is and what its powers are. Without his uncle, Perceval would never have truly understood the true importance of the Grail and how it could heal the Fisher King, his other uncle. L’Ermite is also the perfect role model for Perceval because of the life he leads. He is a godly man who uses his actions and words in order to teach others and to worship God himself. Also, Perceval in order to return to his faith in God learns of his mother’s death. By his mother dying Perceval allows Christ back into his life. This can be interpreted as his mother dying so that Christ can be resurrected back into Perceval’s life, “La mère doit mourir pour que le Christ ressuscite. Et en ressuscitant, le Christ la rachete en meme temps qu’il sauve toure l’humanité” (Szkilnik 86). (Szkilnik)
This also makes way to compare the end of the story to the Easter story. Perceval lived a Godless life for five years, forgetting what was the most important lesson that he was taught by his mentors. When he finally meets l’Ermite and is told that it is Easter, he undergoes a revelation. He realizes that he does not understand what this holiday of worship truly means, but what he does not understand is that once he finds God again it is his own resurrection and Easter. Perceval is born again through his faith,
“Car c’est le paradoxe de la Passion d’être à la fois sujet
d’extrême douleur et d’extrême joie. Perceval pleure sur
ses péchés et se réjouit d’être sauvé. Pour la première fois
dans le roman, Pâques est mentionné: la Résurrection a
enfin retrouvé sa place” (Szkilnik 88).
This means that not only has Perceval found God again, but he has also purged himself of the sins he committed when he was acting selfishly before losing his way and while he was Godless for five years. The powerful comparison between Easter and Perceval’s confession of sins shows the reader that he is reborn into a new man. (Szkilnik)
Prayer and salvation are also extremely important to Perceval’s journey. His
religious education, even from his mother, greatly emphasized the power of prayer and how important church is. Both Gornemant and his mother...