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Last Updated on July 16, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 628

Galahad’s arrival at the court of King Arthur is one necessary event that enables Arthur’s knights to set off on their quest for the Holy Grail. An empty chair for this knight, the Perilous Seat, had always been reserved at the Round Table, which is suddenly marked for Galahad; a new visitor successfully sits there. Galahad also is able to successfully perform a task that no other knight had completed: to pull a sword from a stone. Only Gawain had dared to try, but he had failed. Arthur is convinced that this achievement indicates that Galahad is the one who was chosen to carry out the quest; Galahad agrees that it was meant to be and now lacks only a shield. According to the translation of the text by W. W. Comfort,

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He stretched forth his hand and drew the sword from the stone as easily as if it had no hold there; then he took the scabbard and placed the sword in it. Then he girded it on him and said to the king: “Sire, now it is better placed than it was before. Now I lack nothing but a shield.” “Fair sire,” the king replied, “God will send you a shield from some source, as He has sent you a sword.”

Following Gawain’s lead, the knights all swear to undertake the quest and, Arthur is saddened to hear, not to return to Camelot until it is completed. Their wives want to go with them, but an elderly religious man comes forward to prevent it, saying he bears the word of Nascient the Hermit. He also requires the knights to attend confession before they embark, so they are “cleansed and purged of all villainy and mortal sins,” and reminds everyone at court of the true mission of the quest.

This Quest is not a quest for earthly things, but is to be the search for the deep secrets and confidences of Our Lord and for the great mysteries which the High Master will show openly to that fortunate knight whom he has elected among all the other knights of earth to be his servant. To him he will reveal the great marvel of the Holy Grail and will show him what mortal heart could not conceive nor the tongue of earthly man utter.

As the knights continue on the quest, they are tempted and tested many times. On...

(The entire section contains 628 words.)

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