The Real Merlin Essay

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From the shores of Avalon to the court of King Arthur, tales and accounts of the mystical Merlin abound. Did Merlin really exist, and if so, was he the dark magical wizard of legend or an image conjured up by superstitious townsfolk to explain occurrences they didn't understand? To answer this question, one should first look at the actual accomplishments of the figure Merlin. When was the character introduced and what did he do afterwards? What kinds of feats did this person accomplish to make him as well known as he is? Secondly, Merlin was well known as a mythical figure. How did this mythical figure emerge and what aspects of his life do we still remember to this day? As the son of a devil, was Merlin an evil character or a good…show more content…
Many stories of the Arthurian legend contain some reference to Merlin, as either a wizard or a prophet. As a magician, Merlin performed feats such as the moving of Stonehenge, the disguising of Uther Pendragon, and the crowning of King Arthur by the use of the sword in the stone (Fletcher 25). As a prophet, Merlin told of the defeat of the Saxons, the death of Arthur, and the one who found the Holy Grail.

Almost everyone knows the story The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White wherein Merlin instructed Arthur in his life as king, but what most don't know is that Merlin was, in legend, the son of a devil. An incubus came and bedded with Merlin's mother so that she would bear his child (Ackerman 168). One story that shows the significance of this union is Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britannae. In this book there is a section that tells the tale of Vortigern and Ambrosius. Vortigern, the King of Britain at the time, wants to build a new retreat, but every night the foundation is destroyed. Vortigern's wise men tell him he must sprinkle the spot with the blood of a child born fatherless. After a long and tedious search, Ambrosius is found and brought before Vortigern. Ambrosius tells the King not to slay him but to dig in the spot for two vases. Those digging found these two vases and inside were two tents. Inside the two tents were a red dragon and a white dragon. These creatures fought each other
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