Presentation on theme: "Day Two and Three: Merlin. Bell Ringer #5: Friday 1/22/11 Merlin was a wizard who was famous for his spells in getting people to fall in love, predicting."— Presentation transcript:
Day Two and Three: Merlin
Bell Ringer #5: Friday 1/22/11 Merlin was a wizard who was famous for his spells in getting people to fall in love, predicting the outcome of wars, creating tests for knights and kings, etc. If you were a wizard or somehow obtained supernatural powers, what would you do? For good? For evil? For selfish reasons? For a loved one?
Tales of Merlin
The Birth of Merlin Merlin's traditional biography casts him as a cambion (half-human); born of a mortal woman, sired by an incubus (a demon in male form that preyed on sleeping women in order to father children). The non-human inherits his supernatural powers and abilities. Merlin during his lifetime turned his back on evil and dark forces to turn to the power of light and goodness.
The Rise of Merlin as a Wizard When Merlin was young, Vortigen, the King of Britain wanted to build a tower near Mount Snowdonia in Wales. The tower kept collapsing without apparent reason every night. It was determined that a fatherless child needed to be sacrificed to remedy this problem. Merlin was brought forward. The youth told the king's advisors that the reason for the tower collapsing was due to the existence of a pool beneath the foundation. Digging proved this to be true, and two dragons (one white and one red) emerged. The two dragons supposedly symbolized the constant fighting between the Saxons and the Britons. The two dragons began to combat. The white dragon killed the red dragon, and hence Merlin prophesied Vortigen's death by Aurelius and the future of the land. Hence, Merlin became an important figure in the reign of three later kings (Aurelius, Uther, and Arthur).
His role in King Arthur’s birth When Uther became king, Merlin arranged for him to seduce Igraine by making Uther magically take on the appearance of her husband, Gorlois. A child, Arthur, was born of this union and Merlin took the child away. He educated Arthur and kept him safe. When Uther was near death, Merlin arranged for the Sword-in-the-Stone contest so that Arthur could withdraw the sword from the stone and be recognized as the next king. When Arthur became King, Merlin helped him acquire the infamous Round Table and helped Arthur set up his knightly order.
Variations of Nimue/Elaine/Lady of the Lake The Lady of the Lake plays a significant part in the Arthurian Legend. These characters' roles include giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father. There seems to be more than one "Lady of the Lake", but in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, Nimue is responsible for Merlin's downfall. She met Merlin when she was 16 years of age. Merlin fell in love with Nimue. He was so in love with her that he was constantly at her side. In the version we will watch, Nimue and the Lady of the Lake are two different characters. Lady of the Lake is the mother of Lancelot and Nimue is the lover of Merlin.
Merlin’s Death There are different versions of his death. One version has Nimue tiring of him and turning one of his own spells against him and seals him in a cave forever. Other versions have her trapping him in a bush or Hawthorne tree where his voice is sometimes heard. Some tales have him living forever in his confinement and others tell of his death or his dissension into madness.
Queen Mab In the Celtic tradition, Queen Mab was also known as Queen Maeve. "Maeve" means mead and it was said that Mab gave this blood red wine to all of her consorts which was considered "the wine of women's wisdom". In Warwickshire, the word "Mabled" came to mean "led astray by the faeries or elves".
Queen Mab in Literature Romeo and Juliet: Act I, scene iv Mercutio: Oh, then, I see queen Mab hath been with you. She is the fairies' midwife; and she comes In shape no bigger than an agate stone On the forefinger of an alderman, Drawn with a team of little atomies Athwart men's nose as they lie asleep: Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs, The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers; Her traces of the smallest spider's web; Her collars of the moonshine's watery beams; Her whip of cricket's bone; the lash of film: Her waggoner a small grey-coated gnat, Not half so big as a round little worm Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid: Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut, Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub, Time out o' mind the fairies' coach makers. And in this state she gallops night by night Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love: On courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sises straight:filmwormdream O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees: O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream: Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, Beacause their breaths with sweetmeats tainted ares. Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtiers' nose, And then dreams he of smelling out a suit: And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail, Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep, Then dreams he of another benefice: Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck, And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, Of breaches, anbuscadoes, Spanish blades, Of healths five fathom deep: and then anon Drums in her ear: at which he starts, and wakes; And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer of two, And sleeps again. This is that very Mab That plats the manes of horses in the night; And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs, Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes. This the the hag, when maids lie on their backs, That presses them, and learns them first to bear, Making them women of good carriage. That is she-
Queen mab and Merlin? There are few references to Mab in movies. The most recent is in NBC's Merlin where Queen Mab is the evil sorceress. It is believed that NBC was merely looking for a nemesis and uncorrectly chose Mab. Whereas Mab was involved in the Pagan mythos, she was never a negative entity; nor did she ever appear to use negative guises to circumvent Christianity. This appears merely as a way of stating that anything associate with the Old Path was inherently evil.
Exit Slip: Movie Check 1. What does Queen Mab symbolize in the film? Why was her character added to this version of King Arthur’s legend? 2. Why does Merlin vow to only use his magic for good? 3. Why does Mab need Merlin? What is it that she fears or wants? 4. For which King does Merlin first work as a wizard? 5. What religion were a majority of people converting to during the time of King Arthur that threatened the traditions of the “pagan” belief of multiple deities?
Bell Ringer #6: Monday 1/31/11 1. Who has been your favorite character from the Merlin/King Arthur myth thus far? Why? 2. Why do you think the legend tells more about Arthur than Merlin? Who was more important to the myth and why do we only hear about Arthur in a majority of the tales?
The True Story of King Arthur King Arthur has always been known for his Round Table and retrieval of Excalibur from the Sword in the Stone contest… but what about the other characters who helped him get there? Imagine that an old letter has just been discovered revealing the TRUE story of King Arthur. Write a letter (3-4 paragraphs) from the point of view of a minor character: Morgan, Lady of the Lake, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, Merlin, etc. explaining why you are equally as important to “The Legend of King Arthur.” Remind him how you influenced his story and should be more popular today!