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A grail is simply a cup or a bowl.  The Holy Grail supposedly is the cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and then, on the following day was used by Joseph of Arimathea, who may or may not have been Jesus’ grand-uncle, (Gigot) to capture the blood and sweat of Jesus as he died on the cross.  Following Jesus’ crucifixion, as the legend goes, Joseph was sealed for many years in a tomb much like the one Jesus was reportedly buried in.  There he was kept alive by food and drink miraculously provided by the cup.  After finally escaping from the tomb, Joseph of Arimathea, along with his family, made their way to England.  Eventually, as the story goes, the Grail came to rest at the Castle Corbenic, where it was guarded over by Joseph’s descendents –the Grail Kings.  (King Arthur in Legend)

And there the Holy Grail remained, both it and the castle lost and forgotten until the legendary King Arthur and his equally legendary Knights of the Round Table, in either the 5th or 6th Century, were presented with the task of once again finding the Grail.  (King Arthur)

And so began the Quest for the Holy Grail.  Both Perceval and Lancelot found the Castle Corbenic, but since Perceval didn’t ask for the Grail, it wasn’t offered, and Lancelot, who did ask, wasn’t allowed to see it because he wasn’t pure at heart, which is what happens if you have an affair with King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere.  Galahad, the son of Lancelot, however, was finally allowed into the Grail Chapel because he alone was pure of heart.  Thus completing the Quest for the Holy Grail.  (King Arthur in Legend)

Finding the Grail made Lancelot’s life complete, and he and the Grail reportedly both ascended into heaven.  (King Arthur in Legend)  Or not.  There are still those who continue the Quest for the Holy Grail.

The Quest for the Grail represents pursuing one’s dreams, even if those dreams are seemingly impossible, such as a cat wanting to fly.  It means never giving up and never accepting second best, or close enough.  It is knowing that the Quest itself is more important than what you may find at the end of that Quest.  It is knowing that the Quest truly never ends.

 

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Work Cited

Gigot, Francis. "Joseph of Arimathea."  1910.  The Catholic Encyclopedia.  07 June 2013 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08520a.htm

“King Arthur.”  The Camelot Project.  07 June. 2013.  http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/arthmenu.htm

“King Arthur in Legend:  The Holy Grail.”  2011.  Britannia.  07 June 2013.  http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/grail.html