Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Joseph of Arimathea is a disciple of Christ who, along with his colleague Nicodemus, attends the tomb of Christ. While washing the body of Christ, Joseph accidently opens a wound. To prevent Christ’s blood from spilling, Joseph takes the Grail, the goblet from which Christ drank during the Last Supper, and collects the blood therein. He then hides the Grail in his house. The Jews, incensed upon hearing that he has taken the cup, imprison Joseph in a dark cell, but Nicodemus escapes. In the cell, Christ appears to Joseph with the vessel Joseph thought he had hidden. Christ gives Joseph the goblet with strict orders that only three persons are ever to gain possession of it. He does not, however, tell Joseph who those three persons are to be.
Hundreds of years later, the wizard Merlin, after choosing Arthur to become king of the Britons, arrives at the court of Britain and reveals the story of the Holy Grail. He explains the story of the three tables: one made by the Lord for the Last Supper, one by Joseph of Arimathea, and the last by his own hands. He states that the Grail was passed by Joseph to the rich Fisher King, an old, frail man whose mission was to await the coming of the purest knight in the world. To this knight he would pass the Grail and tell of its mighty power and secrets. Only then would the Fisher King’s ailments and age be lifted. After his revelations, Merlin vanishes to faraway lands to await the reign of Arthur. Meanwhile, Alein le Gros is dying and is visited by the Holy Ghost, who tells him that his own father, Brons, lives in the islands of Ireland and possesses the Holy Grail. Alein is told that he will not be allowed to die until his son, Perceval, finds Brons and is taught the secrets of the Grail. First, however, Perceval has to go to the court of King Arthur and be taught the ways of chivalry and honor. He goes willingly and joyously.
One Easter, King Arthur decides to hold a tournament to honor the Round Table. Perceval, learning the ways of knighthood, wants no part of the tournament, but for the love of a woman, Aleine, niece of Sir Gawain, he agrees to fight. Aleine sends him a suit of red armor, and he...
(The entire section is 883 words.)
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