Le Morte d’Arthur

The Holy Grail (Sangreal) Symbol Analysis

The Holy Grail (Sangreal) Symbol Icon

The Holy Grail is a silver vessel that, according to much more ancient legends, originally held the food Jesus Christ ate at Passover dinner on the night before he died. In Malory’s book, the Holy Grail has been held in England at a castle, where it holds the power to give people around it unlimited, sumptuous food and wine. The Holy Grail’s powers, however, are directly tied to the spiritual goodness of those around it. Indeed, by the end of the book, it has been proclaimed that the Holy Grail will no longer rest in England, since its citizens are no longer holy enough.

In addition to its physical powers, the Holy Grail also allows the one who can “achieve” it to see spiritual things that are normally barred to mere mortals—to reach a level of spiritual wholeness unparalleled while still on Earth. In Malory’s book, one must be entirely pure in order to “achieve” the Grail—that is, one must be both a virgin and lacking other major sins. The quest for the Holy Grail, then, is also a quest amongst those of the Round Table to prove their spiritual worth. Like Excalibur, the Grail is a symbol of glory and honor, though one relating to spiritual rather than physical prowess.

The Holy Grail (Sangreal) Quotes in Le Morte d’Arthur

The Le Morte d’Arthur quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Holy Grail (Sangreal). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Le Morte d’Arthur published in 1970.
Book 13 Quotes

Ah Gawaine, Gawaine, ye have betrayed me; for never shall my court be amended by you, but ye will never be sorry for me as I am for you. And therewith the tears began to run down his visage.

Related Characters: King Arthur (speaker), Sir Gawaine
Related Symbols: The Holy Grail (Sangreal)
Page Number: Vol 2, 250
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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My sin and my wickedness have brought me unto great dishonour. For when I sought worldly adventures for worldly desires, I ever enchieved them and had the better in every place, and never was I discomfit in no quarrel, were it right or wrong. And now I take upon me the adventures of holy things, and now I see and understand that mine old sin hindereth me and shameth me, so that I had no power to stir nor speak when the holy blood appeared afore me.

Related Characters: Sir Launcelot du Lake (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Holy Grail (Sangreal)
Page Number: Vol 2, 270
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Book 17 Quotes

He called to Galahad, and said to him: Come forth the servant of Jesu Christ, and thou shalt see that thou hast much desired to see. And then he began to tremble right hard when the deadly flesh began to hold the spiritual things. Then he held up his hands toward heaven and said: Lord, I thank thee, for now I see that that hath been my desire many a day. Now, blessed Lord, would I not longer live, if it might please thee, Lord.

Related Characters: Sir Galahad (speaker), Joseph of Arimathea (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Holy Grail (Sangreal)
Page Number: Vol 2, 369
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Holy Grail (Sangreal) Symbol Timeline in Le Morte d’Arthur

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Holy Grail (Sangreal) appears in Le Morte d’Arthur. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2
Jealousy, Competition, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...the wax will cease to burn at Merlin’s death, soon before the adventures of the Sangreal. Arthur asks about Pellinore, Balin, and Balan. Arthur will soon meet Balin and Pellinore, but... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...for many years (and will later be healed by Galahad in the quest of the Sangreal). It’s revealed that the blood of Jesus Christ was in the castle, and the spear... (full context)
Book 4
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...and Marhaus would be killed. Pelleas would be one of the four to achieve the Sangreal, and the Lady of the Lake would make it so that he never had to... (full context)
Book 10
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...(a seat at the Round Table kept empty for one who will eventually achieve the Holy Grail ), saying the seat belongs to Percivale. The maiden dies soon afterward, and the court... (full context)
Book 11
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...the seats at the Round Table) will be born that year, and will win the Sangreal (Holy Grail). (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...and pray. The king says that this is the richest thing in the world: the Sangreal, the object that will break the Round Table. The king knows that if Launcelot conceives... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Jealousy, Competition, and Revenge Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...Fay. Bors notes how alike the baby Galahad looks to Launcelot. A damsel brings the Sangreal and tells Bors that the child will sit in the Siege Perilous and achieve the... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...14 Percivale kneels and prays to Jesus. Then the knights see the vessel of the Sangreal approach, borne by a maiden (Ector de Maris cannot see her: only virgins can). At... (full context)
Book 12
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...for an hour. They take him to a chamber next to the vessel of the Sangreal. The Sangreal cures Launcelot, and he wakes up. (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...he’s come here. Elaine says that he’s been mad, but is now cured by the Sangreal. Launcelot asks that they don’t tell anyone else of his shame. He rests for two... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Jealousy, Competition, and Revenge Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
...Mal Fet, who arrived to the land like a madman but was cured by the Sangreal. Percivale tells Ector to wait while he fetches the knight, for them both to do... (full context)
Book 13
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...must be his, but Launcelot gravely says it’s not his. Thus the adventure of the Holy Grail begins. (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...the knights of the Round Table marvel, saying that this is who must achieve the Sangreal. They notice how much he looks like Launcelot, and Guenever says he must be the... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...best knight in the world, as will be proved by his inability to fulfill the Sangreal quest. (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...as it is covered in white silk. Gawaine swears to go in quest of the Sangreal for a year and a day before returning. All others swear too, and Arthur realizes... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Jealousy, Competition, and Revenge Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...knight tells Galahad his name, Melias de Lile, and asks to accompany him in the Sangreal quest. The two ride to a crossroads, where a cross says that only good and... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...lived in sin, and since Galahad has not lived in sin he will achieve the Sangreal. The hermit tells Gawaine he must do penance, but Gawaine says knights often suffer: he... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...towards the knight, though he cannot see who holds it, and the vessel of the Sangreal is brought as well. The knight touches the vessel and is healed. But Launcelot, since... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...would host him, and he came across a fig tree with no fruit. When the Holy Grail was brought before you, the hermit says to Launcelot, God found no fruit in you:... (full context)
Book 14
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...had ordained that the fellows of the Round Table should know the truth of the Sangreal. He said that three white bulls would achieve it: two virgins, and the third chaste,... (full context)
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...to die until he could see and kiss his distant relation who would achieve the Sangreal. (full context)
Book 15
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...of his quest, he says that Launcelot will have no more power to see the Sangreal than a blind man can see a bright sword. The next day, after they bury... (full context)
Book 16
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...of poor faith, and have failed, so they will not be able to achieve the Sangreal. (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...says he is Uwaine les Avoutres, son of Uriens, and he was questing after the Sangreal. Gawaine realizes this is his brother. (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...right way of Jesus Christ. The voice meant that the two knights cannot achieve the Sangreal. (full context)
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...to eat none other than bread or water until sitting at the table where the Sangreal will be, and Bors agrees. The man gives him a scarlet coat to wear until... (full context)
Book 17
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...Galahad to leave his adventures with his father and return to the quest of the Sangreal. Galahad kisses his father and departs. Launcelot sails on the ship for a month and... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Chapter 15 Launcelot hears a sweet song from inside, and he realizes the Sangreal must be there. Finally the door opens. The chamber is lit up, but a voice... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...been punished by God. They tell him that he will never see more of the Sangreal than that, since he is not worthy enough. As he recovers, he is recognized as... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...Bors, since that adventure has been achieved. Then many of the knights depart, since the Sangreal vessel is about to feed the castle residents, but the pure knights are welcomed in.... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...King Pelles and his son then leave the hall, as they are not on the Sangreal quest. Then a man comes as if from heaven, clothed like a bishop, and on... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...whole. Galahad, Percivale, and Bors then depart. They reach a ship, where they find the Sangreal covered with red silk. They pray, and Galahad asks to be delivered to heaven when... (full context)
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
Chapter 22 Though the knights are imprisoned, the Sangreal feeds them and keeps them safe. After awhile King Estorause falls ill and calls for... (full context)
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Trickery and Mistaken Identity Theme Icon
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...been blessed to remain a virgin, and also to have seen the marvels of the Sangreal. Galahad goes to Percivale and Bors and kisses them, asking them to send his blessings... (full context)
Journeys and Quests Theme Icon
...Sarras and rides to Camelot, where everyone rejoices over his return. Bors tells of the Sangreal adventures: the stories are written down into books and placed in the Salisbury libraries. Bors... (full context)
Book 18
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
Chapter 1 Some time after the quest of the Sangreal, Launcelot forgets his promise and begins to sleep with Guenever again. Many in the court... (full context)
Book 21
Honor and Chivalry Theme Icon
Jealousy, Competition, and Revenge Theme Icon
Women: Weakness and Power Theme Icon
...Launcelot swears he will never be false to Guenever: indeed, he even gave up the Sangreal out of love for her. (full context)