HoMe PaGe

Quest

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Many medieval romances sent knights out on quests. The term "Knight-errant" sprang from this, as errant meant "roving" or "wandering". Sir Thomas Malory included many in Le Morte d'Arthur. The most famous—perhaps in all of western literature—centers on the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. This story cycle recounts multiple quests, in multiple variants, telling stories both of the heroes who succeed, like Percival (in Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival) or Sir Galahad (in the Queste del Saint Graal), and also the heroes who fail, like Sir Lancelot. This often sent them into a bewildering forest. Despite many references to its pathlessness, the forest repeatedly confronts knights with forks and crossroads, of a labyrinthine complexity. The significance of their encounters is often explained to the knights—particularly those searching for the Holy Grail—by hermits acting as wise old men -- or women. Still, despite their perils and chances of error, such forests, being the location where the knight can obtain the end of his quest, are places where the knights may become worthy; one romance has a maiden urging Sir Lancelot on his quest for the Holy Grail, "which quickens with life and greenness like the forest. "

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