The Real Merlin

Powerful Essays
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 person with evil tendencies? One other thing one should look at is the Merlin of history, tracing back the roots of this man and just what events led up to the immortalization that this particular character enjoys. How did the Merlin of old become the Merlin of legend? Who was this Merlin of history, and what did he actually do?

In legend, Merlin (or the idea of Merlin) is a well-used name. Early Celtic poems describe Merlin as a king and warrior (Braswell 111). Welsh writings place Merlin as a bard of some significance (Bruce 130). Merlin then appears in the Vita Merlini as a king who went crazy, Historia regum Britannae as a prophet who controls a kingdom, and Le Morte D'Arthur as Arthur's advisor and confidant.

The first account of Merlin is with King Vortigern in History regum Britannae. As the character Ambrosius, Merlin tells Vortigern of the downfall of the Saxons by the Britons. The next major occurrence of Merlin is in King Arthur's court. Here he is an advisor ...

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