This is meant to be a guide to characters and locations commonly found in Arthurian Literature.
- Arthur - A war leader and sometime king of Britain. In his earliest apperances (barring //The Mabinogian//, he takes an active role, but in French romance and its descendents, he is decidedly more hands-off. Earliest appearance: Nennius, //History of the Britains//.
- Guinevere -
- Lancelot -
- Kay -
- Gawain (var. Gwalchmai, Wawa(i)n) - A loyal and valiant retainer. Earliest appearance: "Culwch and Olwen," //Mabinogian//. Notable apperances: //Sir Gawain and The Green Knight//, //Le Morte Darthur//.
- Parzival- Parzival is the titular knight of Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival. Parzival’s role in the story is that of a brand new knight who must be instructed and initiated into the realm of knighthood by those around him, most notably the other knights of Arthur’s court. His antics are, in a way, a sort of subversion of what knighthood is supposed to be, created to demonstrate to the reader what knighthood is supposed to look like by showing what it is obviously not supposed to look like. Related characters and texts: Percival in Chretien de Troyes's, Percival, or the Story of the Grail. Further Reading: G. Richard Dimler,"Parzival's Guilt: a Theological Interpretation," Monatshefte, Vol. 62, No. 2 (Summer, 1970), pp. 123-134. Dimler explores and defines the literary and theological aspects of Parzival's guilt in the narrative.
- Feirefiz- Feirefiz is the long-lost brother of Parzival in Wolfram's Parzival. Feirefiz is a pagan and a skilled knight, able to defeat Parzival in combat. He renounces his Pagan ways in order to win the love of a lady at Arthur's court. He is dappled with both light and dark skin. Interestingly, this pagan knight follows all of the christian notions of chivalry; well-spoken, unwilling to fight an unarmed opponent, and well-versed in the ways of war, Feirefiz, despite his utter rejection of Chrisitanity, exemplifies the values that a Chrisitan knight should hold. Calyton Gray Jr's arguement is that the combination of Feirefiz's paganism and admirable qualities suggests a discomfort with traditions regarding what a knight must be in order to be a good knight. Further Reading: Clayton Gray Jr,"The Symbolic Role of Wolfram's Feirefiz," The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Jul., 1974), pp. 363-374. Gray explores the symbolic parallel between Feirefiz's dual skin tone and his dual role in the story as a pagan and a Christian.
- Gahmuret- As the father of both Feirefiz and Parzival, Gahrumet is the source of a great conflict near the end of Parzival: the fight between the brothers. Gahmuret leaves both families, pagan and Christian, behind in order to go find adventure, and dies in the process. In his article, Blake Lee Spahr ties Gahmuret's adventure directly to his womanizing, proposing that his masculinity is overblown, and not in line with Christian thinking. Spahr does warn that to paint Gahrumet as a villain would be unfair and inaccurate, but his aggresiveness and womanizing tendencies are certainly not meant to be admired. Further Reading: Blake Lee Spahr, "Gahmuret's Erection: RIsing to Adventure," Monatshefte, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Winter, 1991), pp. 403-413. Spahr analyzes Gahmuret's motives and reasons for adventuring and womanizing, and concludes that both are reflections of his pre-occupation with masculinity.
- Herzeloyde- Herzeloyde is Parzival's widowed mother, who tries to prevent Parzival from becoming a knight in Parzival. When she is unsuccessful in persuading her son from going to King Arthur's court, she dies and is lamented by the narrator. Arthur Groos examines the narrator's motives for including a rehtorical descripttion of Herzeloyde's family tree, and concludes that the Biblical structural allusion works to exalt Herzeloyde's more postive character compared to other characters in the story. Kinship is also referenced in the eulogy, foreshadowing Parzival's later struggles with brotherhood and familial relationships. Further Reading: Arthur Groos, "Wolfram's Lament For Herzeloyde," MLN, Vol. 89, No. 3, German Issue (Apr., 1974), pp. 359-366. Groos dissects the meaning and purpose for the eulogy of Herzeloyde and comes to the conclusion that Herzeloyde must be a more admirable character than others in the story.
- Mount Badon
- Carlisle (var. City of the Legions, Caerleon) -
- Avalon (var. Annwfn)