Study Guide

The Once and Future King The Holy Grail

By T.H. White

The Holy Grail

This represents the spiritual aspect of knighthood. Most of Arthur's knights are not able to achieve it, since they're too focused on worldly matters: harming others, drinking, and lust. The three knights who do achieve the Grail (Galahad, Percivale, and Bors) demonstrate purity, innocence, and correct theology.

The Grail ultimately represents the perfection of a knight's martial ability (knowing when to not harm others) and the perfection of his spiritual capacities. Once a knight achieves this kind of perfection, there's nowhere else for him to go, so he dies. Before you get bummed out, though, it's implied this is a good thing… because he gets to be with God.

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